Rangers attacker Malik Tillman will take comparisons with Michael Ballack but admits his knowledge of the former Germany superstar is sketchy.
The 20-year-old Nuremberg-born attacking midfielder arrived on a season-long loan deal from Bayern Munich in the summer with the Ibrox club having an option to sign the USA international.
New Gers boss Michael Beale watched Tillman score a double in the 3-0 home friendly win over Bayer Leverkusen at the weekend before saying: “I don’t want to go too far, but it was like a young Michael Ballack used to play.”
And he was impressed again when he assisted twice in the 3-2 cinch Premiership win over Hibernian at Ibrox on Thursday night.
Asked about comparisons with Ballack, who won 98 caps for Germany in a trophy-laden career with clubs such as Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern Munich and Chelsea which finished 10 years ago, Tillman said: “To be fair, I think Michael Ballack played at a time when I didn’t really realise who he was or how good he was.
“But obviously I know he is a German legend. I saw some clips but to be honest I did not realise just how good he was.
“I know he is a legend and he was a good player but I don’t really have any memories of him.”
Beale has made it clear he wants to sign Tillman who admitted Ibrox would be the best place for his development but the youngster will see what transpires at the end of the season.
He said: “I think there have been some ups and downs but as I said before, I always try and give my best and keep improving the whole time.
“I came here to play as many games as I can. I love the club and everything around it, so we will see what will happen in the summer. ”
It was an eventful first competitive game as Light Blues boss for Beale, the former Ibrox assistant coach, who took over from Giovanni van Bronckhorst last month.
Ryan Porteous headed Hibs in front from a corner in the eighth minute and although Gers attacker Fashion Sakala levelled in the 15th minute, Easter Road forward Kevin Nisbet immediately restored the Leith side’s lead with a powerful drive to give Hibs the interval lead.
However, Rangers midfielder Ryan Jack levelled in the 58th minute from close range after Tillman had flicked on a corner before he brilliantly set up striker Alfredo Morelos for the winner four minutes later.
Asked about the difference between Beale and van Bronckhorst, Tillman said: “First of all I think we had some good games with Gio as well, but obviously the last couple of weeks were a bit disappointing for all of us so we now have Michael on our side and I think everything is more lively in training, the intensity is higher than before.
“And everyone in the team is trying to give the best they can and try to win every game.
“I think we improved a lot as a team and yes, we have worked with him for two weeks and I think we still have to improve a lot and have to keep going and do the best we can as a team.”