ALEJANDRO Bedoya grew up next door to Eddie Murphy and is already planning on Trading Places with the Rangers bench for a run in Ally McCoist’s first team.
The USA winger may have been only a bit-part player to date since arriving in a cut-price deal from Swedish side Orebro in August.
He has played just four times but it is injury and illness, not a lack of desire, that has cost him the chance of making a greater impact at the SPL champs.
Bedoya, 24, grew up surrounded by astonishing wealth and privilege in the salubrious neighbourhood of Englewood, New Jersey.
Its residents include singers Tony Bennett and George Benson, actress Sarah Jessica Parker and former teen pin-up David Cassidy. Posh? Even their Salvation Army band boasts a string quartet and garden bird baths have jacuzzis.
Murphy lived on one side of his home and the head of the US tax service on the other. No, Bedoya hasn’t passed his neighbour’s number to Craig Whyte for some financial advice.
However, as the child of Colombian immigrants Adriano and Julieta, none of the trappings of wealth belonged to Bedoya.
Nevertheless, the work ethic instilled in him by his parents has been a motivating factor throughout his young life.
Today, his success is eclipsed only by his father, who arrived in the States in 1981 on a soccer scholarship and is now employed as director of sales and marketing for Fuji Film in Latin America.
Bedoya said: “I was born in Englewood, which is part of Bergen County in north New Jersey, and it’s a very affluent area.
“My parents arrived from Colombia as my dad won a soccer scholarship at Fairleigh Dickinson University nearby and my mom worked as a maid for an older couple who were really rather wealthy.
“They got to the age and the point where they actually invited our family to live in the house and take over the mansion, so to speak, in almost like a caretaker capacity.
“Eddie Murphy lived next door and the head of the IRS lived on the other side. John Travolta studied nearby at Dwight Morrow High School. It was interesting, pretty cool and really kinda crazy.
“My parents couldn’t even speak English when they first arrived in the States and yet found this great family who looked after them. It was a very lucky thing to happen. I owe so much to my parents. My father, for example, picked up a serious injury but still remained committed to his studies.
“He came from nothing in Colombia yet was always a bright person, a great student.
“He learned English so fast he became a professor of mathematics at Fairleigh Dickinson as a side job, which was remarkable. He worked for Canon for 25 years and is now employed by Fuji Film.
“He encouraged us and reminded us about the importance of hard work and how far it can take you.
“He has worked so hard to get to the top in business. However, I’m doing what he wished he could on the football field and that’s great.”
Bedoya, who was originally due to move to Rangers on a free in January 2012, gave a stirring performance in an admittedly low-key friendly against Liverpool on Tuesday that hinted at what he has to offer from the middle of the park.
He has asked Rangers fans only for a little patience, understanding and tolerance as he bids to adjust to life with the SPL champs after two years with Orebro.
Bedoya said: “Glasgow feels like New York City compared with Orebro. My team in Sweden were struggling but Rangers are a much bigger club and I want to be part of that winning tradition in terms of lifting titles.
“Unfortunately, since I arrived in Glasgow I’ve been battered with injury and illness but patience is the key.
“In the short term I want to break into the side and become part of the squad every week. The fans may not know or look into it as much as I do but my season started in Sweden back in January so it has already been a long year. However, I’ve looked sharp in training and want to be a key player.
“Not being in Europe at this stage of the season is a blow but I would still love to play against the biggest clubs in the Champions League.”
Bedoya won his first cap in January last year against Honduras and earned his first start against Brazil in August that year.
He was part of the squad for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the summer and wants to persuade new coach Jurgen Klinsmann he is part of his long-term plans.
Unsurprisingly, given the player’s background, he will not lack for effort in his desire to make the grade for club and country.
Bedoya said: “One of my greatest attributes on a football field is hard work. Even when I was young my stamina and endurance were good. It’s hard work that has brought me to where I am now.”

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