By Alex Stevens
Mark Warburton is keen for more Tottenham emerging stars to follow in the loan footsteps of Dominic Ball and Alex Pritchard.
The Rangers manager wants to strengthen the club’s relationship with the London giants after overseeing the development of Ball at Ibrox and Pritchard when he was at Brentford last season.
Ball has spoken highly of Warburton and his coaching staff during his season on loan at Rangers, while Pritchard flourished in the English Championship in 2014-15.
Lifelong Spurs fan Warburton is a huge admirer of the Tottenham academy that has produced Harry Kane, Ryan Mason, Tom Carroll, Nabil Bentaleb and Danny Rose for the current first team as well as previous shining graduates likes Andros Townsend and Jake Livermore.
The Light Blues boss believes Rangers could offer the perfect club for young Spurs players to develop while on loan and get crucial regular first-team matches.
Warburton has met several of the youth coaches at Spurs in the past and he believes the club has got it right, both at first-team level and when it comes to player development.
“I was very fortunate through the NextGen tournament to deal closely with people like John McDermott [Spurs’ Head of Coaching & Player Development], Dean Rastrick [Academy Manager] and Ugo Ehiogu [Under-21 Head Coach],” Warburton told the Rangers website.
“It was really good to chat to them and I had good conversations on many occasions.
“I saw their development process for young players, I saw how they give them an opportunity, how they challenge them, so I was delighted to work closely with Tottenham at that tournament and then take it forward from there.
“We’ve taken players in the past, we had young Alex Pritchard at Brentford last year, Dom Ball this year, so again this shows that we can create that environment that is conducive to the players’ development and hopefully strengthen the relationship with Tottenham.”
Rangers face Spurs in a behind-closed-doors friendly at the Londoners’ training headquarters in Enfield on Wednesday morning as they step up their preparations for the Scottish Cup final on 21 May.
It is at this world-class facility that Tottenham’s coaches develop so many of their academy players into Premier League stars and Warburton insists Rangers can learn a lot from north Londoners.
“I know I’m talking as a Spurs fan here but forget the bias, their academy is first class with a number of players coming through,” he told the Rangers website.
“You look at Kane, Carroll, Mason and the [Tom] Huddlestones and the Livermores etc. Bentaleb is now coming through and Pritchard.
“It’s a fantastic academy. We have Dom Ball here who’s been a credit to Spurs and to himself of course.
“Dom has come up and the players are hungry, so we are delighted to have a good relationship with Spurs and we’ll go down there and look forward to what will be a very challenging game.”
In other Rangers news, the club are confident of unveiling a new signing this week.