Graeme Murty: This Rangers first teamer is not quite the finished article yet
Rangers manager Graeme Murty thinks central defender David Bates can force his way into Alex McLeish’s Scotland plans – but insists the 21-year-old is still not the “finished article.”
The former Raith Rovers defender has been a mainstay in the side since coming in to replace Bruno Alves during December’s Old Firm draw at Celtic Park.
Bates has kept the fit-again Alves out of the first team in the last few weeks after being partnered with Russell Martin in central defence for the Ibrox giants.
Murty thinks Bates is better at “different things” than some of the names floated for a place in McLeish’s squad and believes that playing regularly for the Gers can only help.
“He’s starting for Rangers at centre-back – one of the biggest stages in Britain – and he is doing OK,” Murty said, as quoted by the Daily Record.
“David is not quite the finished article yet but he’s better at different things than some of the young Scottish defenders around just now.
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“He has got to concentrate on his own game and let Alex come to him and say: ‘You need to do this better and that better’.
“That from a Scotland manager would be invaluable to David for his career. He would absolutely benefit from that”
Bates joined the Gers from Raith in August 2016 on a development loan before agreeing a permanent switch in the following January transfer window and penning an 18-month contract.
The 21-year-old first teamer’s deal is up at the end of the season with talks ongoing over extending his stay with his boyhood heroes.
Bates has made 15 appearances so far this season for the Light Blues and will likely start in Sunday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final clash with Falkirk.
Football Insider verdict:
Bates is unlikely to force his way into the Scotland squad anytime soon and depending on when the likes of Ross McCrorie return from inury, he might not even be a regular starter at Ibrox before too long. The 21-year-old is solid enough defensively although he does have some pretty big weaknesses that need improved. If the former Raith youngster keeps developing the way he has since arriving at Ibrox a Scotland call-up could happen further down the line for him but thanks to the form of others like John Souttar at Hearts it isn’t likely to be for a while yet.