By Kevin Phillips

29th Feb, 2020 | 8:00am

Exclusive: Kevin Phillips drools over Rangers player he tried to sign

Kevin Phillips heaped praise on Ryan Kent for his performances at Rangers this season and revealed he tried to sign him while a coach in England.

The former Stoke City and Derby County coach, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs,  suggested the “very talented player” will eventually move back to England and his future is likely to be linked to that of manager Steven Gerrard.

The 23-year-old scored the only goal as Gerrard’s side progressed to the last 16 of the Europa League with a 1-0 victory away to Braga on Wednesday night.

Kent broke in behind the host’s defence before cooling slotting past the helpless Matheus.

When asked whether the former Liverpool player is finally realising his potential at Ibrox, Phillips told Football Insider“Sometimes it takes a while for young players. They need to go and find the club where they feel comfortable and where they are playing week-in week-out.

“He was a player that we looked at, at one of my previous clubs I was coaching at but he opted to go elsewhere in the Championship.

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“Now he has gone up to Scotland and this past two seasons he has chipped in with goals, like the other night. Steven Gerrard really likes him.

“The good thing about that is he is learning his trade still but he is winning football matches most weeks so his confidence is growing and he is a very talented player.

“He will certainly not be in Scotland for his whole career and if Steven moves on he could as well – back down to England somewhere.”

Kent has scored 13 goals and provided 13 assists in 71 appearances for the Light Blues becoming a mainstay from the left-hand side of a 4-3-3.

The Europa League draw sees Steven Gerrard’s side take on German outfit Bayer Leverkusen for a place in the quarter-finals.

In other Rangers news, Alex Bruce has told Football Insider he is in awe of Gers midfielder who was a tough opponent.