'Great for the club' – Johnstone excited by opportunity for Rangers youngsters this season
By James Black
Rangers legend Derek Johnstone is excited by the opportunities for Graeme Murty’s U20 squad to step up and challenge for a first-team place under Pedro Caixinha.
The European Cup Winner’s Cup-winning icon believes that travelling across Europe to play the elite clubs across the continent can only help the Auchenhowie youngsters fulfil their potential.
With fixtures against clubs like Liverpool, Spurs, Man City, Feyenoord, Alkmaar and Benfica this season, the young Gers will face something completely different to the current SPFL Development League set-up.
The opportunity to test themselves against the cream of Europe’s young talent will also give the young Rangers players an idea of where they rank against some of the most highly-rated young talent in the game.
Caixinha has already given a number of Rangers’ youth players first team opportunities with Myles Beerman, Jamie Barjonas and Aidan Wilson all stepping up at the end of last season.
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Other youngsters like Zak Rudden, Serge Atakayi, Liam Burt and Ross McCrorie have also been tipped to make their mark in the first team at Ibrox but, for now, will have to prove their ability against a host of major European sides.
In his column in the Evening Times, Johnstone also sees a benefit for the Scottish national team from the ambitious games programme implemented by Rangers’ Academy staff, saying: “This is obviously something that Rangers have thought a lot about and only time will tell whether it is going to be successful or not.
“Let’s hope that it is.
“Rangers need to be bringing their own players through the ranks and hopefully we will see a higher quality of youngster being produced over the next couple of years.
“That would be great for the club, obviously.
“But it would also be good for the national side as well.”
In other Rangers news, a manager of an English club has revealed what he’s been told about this Gers 22-year-old.