By Danny Wright
Former Norwich first team coach Gary Holt believes that it is a good move for Rangers to opt out of the SPFL Development League next season.
A statement on the Light Blues’ official website said that their youngsters will instead be taking part in a “ground-breaking and challenging games programme against Europe’s best young talent”, which is something that Holt experienced with Norwich.
Teams like Manchester City, Ajax, Benfica, Real Madrid and Manchester United will play matches against the academy team next season.
Holt, who began his playing career at Celtic, says it doesn’t matter if the Scottish youngsters suffer embarrassing defeats to their continental peers and that it’s all a part of the learning curve.
“Rangers are looking to progress the development of their youth players and they will relish the lessons on offer as long as they are willing to accept they will get a few humpings along the way. As that’s what will happen,” said the 44-year-old, as quoted by the Daily Record.
“It needs to be used a tool to test their players against players who are often better technical players.
“Young players from Germany, France, Portugal, Holland and Spain are better technically, it’s an indisputable fact and this should be a positive step to try to bridge that gap.
“It’s okay saying you want to cross borders, play internationally, but you also need to accept that if you face Bayern Munich, Barcelona or some of these top teams then you could take a hiding.”
Rangers will plan their fixture list in the next few weeks and Ibrox will play host to some of the bigger teams that are included in the programme.
The academy has seen some bright talent emerge in recent years such as Barrie McKay, Jamie Barjonas and John Fleck, as well as Billy Gilmour, who has secured a move to Premier League champions Chelsea.
Holt’s career saw him play for Kilmarnock, Norwich and Nottingham Forest. He also earned ten caps for the Scottish national team and scored once for the Tartan Army in a friendly win over Trinidad and Tobago.
In other Rangers news, Caixinha has held talks with this international midfielder who is out of contract in weeks.