It’s fair to say that Steven Gerrard’s long-term goal must be to end Celtic’s dominance in Scottish football and, in order to do that, he must develop the club’s youth system to fit in with his Ibrox signings, if the balance is truly going to be restored.
A former youth coach for Liverpool, the 39-year-old former England skipper obviously has experience working around talented youngsters, though he is under threat of losing one of his brightest prospects in Glasgow. Indeed, heavyweights such as the Reds and AS Roma (as per the Daily Record in April) have been linked with 17-year-old James McPake, little over a year after the departure of another promising youngster in Billy Gilmour to Chelsea.
Still, reports from Football Insider yesterday did suggest both Gerrard and Mark Allen were keen to secure his future at the club, which is good news.
Why? Well, he’s looking to be worth the hype.
Obviously, when you look into the fact that he won the Rangers “Academy Player of the Year” award in April, you can see he’s rated highly behind the scenes in the club’s ranks. During a Twitter Q&A posted on the club’s official site back in January, the 17-year-old described himself as direct, tricky and full of pace going forward.
Now, clearly the fate of young players can go either way, but they don’t exactly sound like the kind of traits any club would want to lose.
Furthermore, considering that the Gers’ U-20 manager Graeme Murty dubbed him a “very elusive” talent in December and lauded his elite level of technique along with his tendency to be an “out and out threat”, he does look to have at least the raw tools to fit into an attacking system that saw the Gers smash in 82 goals last season.
When you look into how Alfredo Morelos, James Tavernier, Jermain Defoe and Scott Arfield allowed the Gers to outscore Celtic last season, he’d clearly be learning from the best.
Gerrard (via Rangers News) indicated in April that he will potentially give McPake his chance to shine next season and, looking at his potential, perhaps offering a lucrative deal could benefit the club in the long-run.
Rangers fans, do you think McPake can make a big impact next season? Join the discussion by commenting below…
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