Noel Whelan admits losing Leon Balogun to injury is going to be a “big blow” for Rangers manager Steven Gerrard.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Premiership striker has lauded the centre-back for his early-season form alongside Connor Goldson at the heart of the defence.

Speaking to the media on Friday morning, Gerrard confirmed that the 32-year-old picked up a quad problem in the win over St Johnstone and would miss Sunday’s clash with Livingston.

Whelan admits that Balogun’s absence will be a bitter pill for the Gers to swallow after his standout performances so far in the Premiership.

Asked if it was a big blow for Gerrard, Whelan told Football Insider: “Yeah, it is, he’s done so well since he came in, I think man of the match in the first game of the season on his debut.

“He’s one of those players that’s fit in very, very quickly to Rangers, the style of play and what Steven Gerrard wants and is proving to be a fantastic acquisition to the already good, up and coming, strong Rangers side.

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“To lose that kind of continuity, it’s like losing Ben White or Liam Cooper at Leeds last season – a very strong partnership that you kind of want to keep together as long as possible. They’ve got a nice balance and they’re getting to know each other and get that relationship you need at the heart.” 

Balogun has started every one of Rangers’ Premiership games to date and the Light Blues are yet to concede a league goal.

Gerrard also confirmed that Jermain Defoe will miss Sunday’s clash as a result of a small setback over his muscle injury.

In other Rangers news, Alan Hutton has been left gobsmacked by a “huge” transfer report.