A Football League journeyman is set to take on Rangers in the Champions League third qualifying round on Tuesday night.
Rangers travel to Belgium to face Pro League runners-up Union Saint Gilloise in the first leg of their tie as they begin their European campaign. Amongst the Union squad is 30-year-old English defender Christian Burgess, formerly of Middlesbrough, Peterborough United and Portsmouth, who could be in line to start.
With injuries to two of Union's other centre-backs, the former Arsenal academy starlet is likely to be tasked with dealing with the Gers' attack as his side make their Champions League debut.
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Having been released by Arsenal's youth set-up at the age of 12, Burgess spent time in non-league with Bishop's Stortford before joining Middlesbrough in 2012 aged 20.
He later had loan spells with Hartlepool United and Peterborough before a permanent switch to Posh in 2014. After just one season, though, he moved to Fratton Park to join Portsmouth.
In five years on the south coast, Burgess made 210 appearances as well as winning both League Two and the EFL Trophy before he headed to Europe. Overall, he played a total of 245 times in the Football League.
Burgess joined then second division Union in 2020 on a free transfer and won promotion as champions in his first season with the club, who's majority stakeholder is Brighton & Hove Albion owner Tony Bloom.
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Having made 68 appearances in two years with the club, he was rewarded with a new contract in June, keeping him with Union until 2024, with the option of a further year.
Union came agonisingly close to booking an automatic group stage berth last season as they narrowly missed out on a first league title since 1935 and 12th overall.
Having finished the regular Pro League season top of the table and five points ahead of Club Brugge, they were overtaken in the play-offs and ultimately ended the campaign four points adrift in second place.
However, they will still make their first appearance in Europe since 1964 on Tuesday, even if it is not at their home ground. Union's Stade Joseph Marien does not meet UEFA standards for the fixture, meaning the tie will take place at Den Dreef Stadium 30 kilometres away in Leuven.
The return leg will take place at Ibrox next Tuesday, with the winners facing either Monaco or PSV Eindhoven in the play-off round for a place in the group stage.
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