GARETH BALE pushed his career towards superstardom by going back to front.
Rangers’ on-loan defender Declan John is aiming to re-launch his career by going in the opposite direction.
The 22-year-old started out as a winger at Cardiff City.
Up until Friday night when he appeared at fault for Dundee’s second goal, John had been impressing at left-back during his loan spell at Ibrox.
He picked up two full caps for Wales back in 2013 before his career stalled, with that international experience coming just as his fellow countryman Bale was moving from Spurs to Real Madrid.
John said: “He’s a massive player for Wales and, when he’s not playing, there’s a difference, even though there are others with real quality, like Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen.
“Gareth played at left-back during his early days at White Hart Lane and everyone could see that wasn’t his proper position.
“As soon as he was moved up, he turned into a totally different player, doing so well for Spurs and now playing for the one of the biggest clubs in the world.
“So maybe I could go the other way and establish myself as a left-back.”
John’s league debut at Cardiff came as a defender, but he admits that was because the Bluebirds had run out of players.
“I started out as a winger, and then-manager Malky Mackay switched me back one day when one of the players got injured and he literally had no-one else he could put there.
“I did well and stayed there.
“It was scary making your first-team debut in the Premier League at West Ham’s old stadium, where the atmosphere was amazing.
“I was up against Joe Cole that day, if I remember. It took me about 20 minutes to get into it.
“After that, I felt it was actually fine, although we lost 2-0.
“Here at Rangers, we like to keep the ball and play out of defence.
“When I am playing left-back, I can easily get forward and I’ve got a lot of space to do that.
“When I have been able to do that, I’ve shown what I can do.
“There could be a time when I am pushed up to left-side or right-side of midfield.
“It doesn’t really bother me.”
Rangers face Aberdeen twice in five days this week, with the first match at home on Wednesday night.
John said: “I think it’s a chance to bounce back against them.
“They are second in the league, and doing well. It would be good for us to make a statement against them.
“We’re playing them on Wednesday, then again on Sunday.
“So we’ve got two big games against them back-to-back.
“We do need to put down a marker.”
The double-header will see John meet up with two former Cardiff City team-mates.
Aberdeen goalie Joe Lewis found games hard to come by in Wales, but the Rangers player knows the big man is always hard to beat.
Playing closer to his position could be one-time Cardiff striker, Nicky Maynard, although his appearances for Aberdeen have mostly been from the bench
He went on: “I know Joe quite well, as I played with him for a year or so.
“It’s no surprise he’s done terrifically for Aberdeen, at Cardiff he was unlucky.
“We did have a good few goalkeepers during his time there, including David Marshall.
“It’s always the problem with goalkeepers. If one is doing well, then that’s you out the team.
“David Marshall had his amazing league performances in the Premier League, so it’s hard for players to get into the team when someone like that is doing so well.
“Nicky was there, too. He showed his talent at Cardiff, and scored goals every season he played.
“He’s another good player. I don’t really see why he’s not getting his chance.”