By James Black
Pedro Caixinha has praised the Rangers youngsters after their 5-2 win over Brentford B on Sunday and hinted there may be first-team opportunities for some of them in the future.
Graeme Murty’s Under-20’s side comfortably won against Brentford B through a Ryan Hardie hat-trick and goals from Jamie Barjonas and Aaron Nemane in the latest fixture in the club’s “Academy Games” programme.
Caixinha singled out rising stars Barjonas and Aidan Wilson and revealed the defender will feature against Morton in Saturday’s closed-doors friendly with Jim Duffy’s side.
Wilson made his first-team debut at the tail-end of last season and the centre-back impressed in starts against Aberdeen and St. Johnstone.
His regular partner in central defence for Murty’s Under-20’s is Ross McCrorie and the 19-year-old has won plaudits after a series of solid performances in the first-team over the last few weeks, especially for his display against Celtic.
Caixinha has now admitted that McCrorie has “opened the door” for more of the Academy youngsters to make the breakthrough, using Wilson and Barjonas as prime examples.
“Yeah, we got a lot of positives, it was good for them and it helped the boys to get that rhythm,” said Caixinha, as quoted on Rangers’ official website.
“But also to follow some of the young players that now, because we have some of our players from the first-team squad out, they are playing with us and they are training with us so it’s great.
“I think Ross opened the door again for those players and understood the conversation we had with them at the beginning of the season, when we said, ‘we are having a look at you, keep working, we are going to call you when we have the need for players in your position because we know and we trust you and if there are circumstances when we need to place you in the first eleven or with the substitutes and give you the chance, we are going to give you it.’
“That’s what we are living in this moment. Barjonas is a player we already know and Aidan is another, so he is going to get 105 minutes against Morton because we will play three periods of 35 minutes on Saturday.”
Barjonas also made his first-team debut last season, making a handful of substitute appearances, and started the final game of the season against St. Johnstone.
18-year-old midfelder Barjonas, who was a stand-out in the Under-20’s last season, impressed fans with his composed performances and wide range of passing after coming into the first-team.
Rangers were due to take on Benfica in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on Friday for the Eusebio Cup before the match was cancelled last weekend.
The Light Blues return to competitive action on October 13 when the travel to Perth to face St. Johnstone.
In latest Rangers news, fans reacted to Kenny Miller playing for the Under-20’s against Brentford B.