Rangers legend Ronald De Boer believes he knows the best way for Steven Gerrard to overhaul their rivals at the summit of the Premiership table in years to come, but admits that his plan will not be an immediate fix.
De Boer is coaching the Ajax Under-19 team, and the club has seen a number of its academy graduates emerge as first team regulars — something that Rangers can benefit from, in his eyes.
Mixing youth with player investment is what helped Ajax reach the last eight of this year’s Champion’s League, and the former Rangers star is a big fan of “giving the kids time”.
It may not be ideal for the Ibrox club, as establishing success this way would take patience and time, but De Boer believes that fans would prefer to see local young players winning trophies for the club.
He told the Daily Star: “I am in favour of giving the kids time.
“At the end of the day, when you bring through your own players your club will be so healthy.
“It is also great for the fans to have local boys in their team. That is something special.
“If you put a lot of money into the youth system like we do at Ajax then in the end you will get the results.
“When that is working properly, when you have good youth coaches, then you will always be a very healthy club.”
Of course, when you are in charge of a club where your city rivals are winning titles and trophies year upon year, the need for fans to see instant success is very demanding.
Gerrard has said he wants to have funds available to buy players this summer, that can see Rangers challenging Celtic in the league next year.
To do that, he would need a sizeable budget, and is already trying to cool expectations with comments claiming an inability to pay substantial fees for players like Ryan Kent.
If that is the case, then it would seem a long way from the type of money he will need to mount a realistic title-winning campaign, so De Boer’s long-term strategy may be more prudent.
De Boer added: “Sometimes you have a good generation and you have four or five players who come through to the first team.
“But you are also doing well if you have one or if you are lucky two coming through into the first team. That is a very healthy situation.
“I think Rangers should look to do it more and not just focus on signing players for the first team.
“It always starts with the foundation and the pillars of success are the youth.”
With the talented youngsters starting to knock on the door of the first team, some of who are coming through the reserve side, while others are currently out on loan, it is something that may pay off for Rangers.
Players like Glenn Middleton and Greg Docherty are excelling this year, and could be ready to make the transition after the summer.
If Gerrard can get a good blend of youth and sensible recruitment, maybe Rangers will become the dominant force they once were in Scottish football.
What do you think of De Boer’s comments Rangers fans? Is he right to suggest your club play the long game in your pursuit of league titles? Let us know below…
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