AT Rangers every Academy player has an excellent level of technical ability and that goes through all the different year groups that train at Auchenhowie.
But Head Development Squad coach Graeme Murty insists that to make inroads at senior level at any club, rising stars have to have an inner drive and determination to show their first-team manager that they are better than the players who are already in his starting eleven.
Speaking to RangersTV yesterday after taking part in a Rangers Youth Development Company Q&A on Twitter, Murty – pictured with RYDC director Colin Stewart above – said: “Whatever football club you are at, whatever level you are at, and even in international football, there will be somebody ahead of you who has your shirt.
“Bottom line, they’ve got to go and take a shirt off somebody because I know for sure that person won’t give that shirt up willingly, and nor should they.
What we have to ensure is that we have players of the technical level, of the mind set, that nothing is going to stop them getting that shirt and they will do whatever they can to be on the level that it is impossible for the manager to ignore them.
“I would say out of all of the things I have seen in youth development from Southampton to Norwich to here that has been the one constant.
“The level of the first team can be whatever it is, it is the level of the youth player. If he wants to get that first-team shirt he has to be better than the guy who has it.
“If you are not, don’t moan about economic problems, don’t money about there is too much money in football, don’t moan about that youth players don’t get chances. Go and do something about it and go and take the shirt off him.
“If they do that then they’ll deserve to play and it’s my job as a coach to give them the ability, but the desire has to come from them first.”
Murty admits that football is becoming an increasingly physical, athletic game and one of the challenges the Academy staff in Auchenhowie have is to get kids ready to meet these demands.
He continued: “I think the more you look at football and the closer you analyse it, football is becoming more athletic, it’s becoming more dynamic, particularly in the critical areas of the pitch in both penalty areas.
“You have to be able to handle that physical load and if you can’t, regardless of the talent that you have, you won’t be able to maintain the standard.
“You might be able to do it briefly but you won’t be able to maintain the standard.
“So we have to make sure that holistically we look at the players, we look at each area of development so we maximise their physical development.
“But also it’s not to the detriment of their technical ability because every single player who is here [at Rangers] is here because of their ability on the ball, we don’t ever want to lose that.
“We should never lose sight of the fact that they have ability already. All we are looking to do is enhance what is already there and I think that is where a lot of people get caught up.
“You are doing too much of this or too much of that. What we are trying to do is enhance the players into a ‘product’, something that can stand the test of professional football at first-team level.
“Unfortunately, that takes a certain standard of physical ability. We can help them get there and we would hate to think that the reason they are not getting picked is they cannot sustain it.
“So we have to walk a tightrope of development and making sure they are bigger and faster and stronger and also better technically, but that they are fresh as well to go and perform on a Tuesday and showcase that talent.
“It’s a difficult one but I think we are heading in the right direction and some of the staff have put on a fantastic presentation to the players today on that very basis, so they know why we do things.”
Graeme Murty is a huge supporter of the Rangers Youth Development Company and is pictured promoting their new Youth Members Club – which costs £25 a year and gives fans the chance to get closer than ever to the Rangers Academy.
Members could enjoy Youth Player/Coach ‘Meet and Greet’ sessions, access to selected youth training sessions, competitions to win season tickets, tours of Ibrox and Auchenhowie, a monthly members newsletter and much, much more.
Rangers fans can continue to support RYDC in a variety of ways – full details on Rangers Lotto, Rising Stars, Scratchcards, Stadium Bricks and the Youth Members Club can be found at www.rydc.co.uk, emailing [email protected] or calling 0141 427 4914.