Leeds United

Noel Whelan has tipped Ryan Kent to explode next season after agreeing to stay at Rangers for one more year. 

The former Leeds United and Aberdeen hitman, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, wants to see Kent emulate Steven Gerrard’s career after agreeing to stay at Rangers.

Football Insider has revealed that Kent has a gentleman’s agreement with Rangers to stay another season but he may hold back from signing a new contract.

Ibrox sources have told Football Insider the club are keen to tie Kent down to a new deal but the player is in no rush to commit to an extension on the deal that expires in 2023.

The chance to play in the Champions League is understood to have been a factor in Kent’s thinking.

Whelan claims Kent has no choice but to improve as he faces new challenges with Rangers next season.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

When asked if Kent can hit new heights next year, Whelan told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, “He has to.

“That’s the thing about good players, the progression. You’ve got to be better than you were last season. 

“You’ve got to hit that height. Playing in the Champions League is another test of how good you are. 

“Gerrard will be expecting the same from Kent, which is something he did every single season at Liverpool. 

“That’s the attitude I would expect from Kent, that desire to emulate Gerrard. He’s got great ability and there’s no reason why he can’t do better next season.

“It doesn’t mean he’ll end his career at Rangers but Gerrard will want to see an even better season and then who knows where his career will take him.”

Kent, 24, has now made 50 appearances for Rangers this season.

He has picked up 12 goals and 14 assists in a fine personal campaign for the Scottish Premiership champions.

In other news, Kieran Maguire has hailed “huge” new Rangers commercial agreement.