Alan Hutton has admitted he’s not convinced Bongani Zungu has done enough to earn a permanent Rangers move despite glowing accounts of his efforts in training.
The former Gers defender and lifelong fan at Ibrox, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted he felt sorry for the 28-year-old after watching him play second fiddle for the majority of the season.
The South Africa international made his first Premiership start against Hamilton last weekend, with the likes of Ryan Jack and Steven Davis rested by Steven Gerrard.
However, Zungu lasted just 60 minutes before being replaced by the Scotland international as the game finished 1-1.
The Amiens loanee now has 15 appearances under his belt for the Gers, although only a third of those have seen him play for 45 minutes or more.
Hutton has admitted he is not sure Zungu will be at Ibrox past the end of the season after failing to take his chance against Hamilton but insisted he sympathised with the midfielder’s lack of regular game time.
Discussing the potential of a permanent move, Hutton told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “When you know you’re on loan, you have to be performing at every single opportunity you get – yes, he’s been doing really well in training by all accounts I hear, but it’s in games where it counts the most.
“Has he shown enough (to earn a permanent move) at the moment? I’m not sure, I don’t think so but the flipside to that is I do feel for him because it’s a real difficult position to break into this Rangers team, there’s a lot of confidence in there and a lot of good players.
“It is difficult to really see how good he can actually be when it’s 10 minutes here or 45 minutes there.”
Zungu made his debut for Rangers as a half-time substitute in the 8-0 win over Hamilton back in November.
His only other starts have come in the Europa League against Lech Poznan and the Scottish League Cup ties versus Falkirk and St Mirren.