Scottish giants Rangers give trial to 16-year-old New Zealand defender

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Defender Marley Leuluai — a New Zealand U-17 international — is having a trial with Scottish giants Rangers after being told he won’t be offered a contract by Manchester City.

Leuluai (16), the son of former rugby league player Kylie Leuluai, has been at the Manchester City academy since 2013, but Rangers have invited him to spend time training with them in Glasgow.

Main photo: Leuluai in action for the New Zealand U-17 team in January.

Reports say City have told Leuluai that he will not be offered a professional contract when he turns 17, prompting him to consider his options.

In England, clubs can not offer professional terms till a player turns 17; in Scotland, they age threshold is only 16.

Leuluai captained New Zealand in their opening game at the U-17 OFC Championshp in Fiji in January.

However, an injury disrupted the rest of his tournament, and he was sidelined.

Marley Leuluai was born in England while his father was between contracts with the Warrington Wolves and the Leeds Rhinos.

He started playing football when he was seven and he was spotted by scouts at a tournament.

He was first offered academy training with Blackburn Rovers but was soon on his way to Manchester City.

Father Kyle told the Herald on Sunday in 2018: “They paid all the expenses and I wanted him to be at the best club, with the best players,” says Leuluai. “It was closer, a great facility, and they told us about the schooling programme. It wasn’t rocket science.”

READ MORE: Our previous stories about the OFC U-17 Championship >>>>

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