UNDER-20s star Max Ashmore reckons Mark Warburton’s keen interest in the Auchenhowie Academy is breathing confidence into the young players.

The midfielder has just returned from Valencia and a two-week training camp with the development side, and now Ashmore and his teammates are preparing for a hectic period of 19 league games between now and the end of the season.

Those matches in the Development League have given a number of young players the opportunity to impress boss Warburton, and Ashmore hopes to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Ross Lyon, Ross McCrorie and Liam Burt by progressing onto first-team training and their matchday squads.

Ashmore explained: “For me, it’s always been about keeping my place in the under-20s, and I’ve managed to get the chance to train with the first team a few times.

“The Manager is at nearly every game, he pays a lot of attention to our training and he is always asking Craig how we are getting on.

“So it’s good for us to know he is there, and hopefully if we do well enough, we will be given a chance. I’ve been here since under-13s, and I have experienced a lot of the changes in that period. This is the best it has been, and you can feel the freshness of it all and it is really good for everyone and anyone who wants to be involved with Rangers.”

The two week experience under the Spanish sunshine appears to have done all the young players the world of good, with coach Ian Durrant explaining yesterday their first session back at Auchenhowie following their return was as bright as he had seen in a while.

Ashmore shares that assessment, and he also believes the trip did wonders for the camaraderie in the squad.

He continued: “It was a really good experience for all the boys being in a different environment and a different culture from Murray Park.

“Being together for two weeks helped us to bond more, and the training facilities and hotel we had access to were top class, so hopefully that will benefit us for the rest of the season.

“Even just being in a different place and seeing other teams train has helped us. It was great to live like that for two weeks eating all the proper foods and going through the right training and recovery sessions.

“We have all come together. Before there was a bit of a split between the older ones and younger ones, but now we’ve all come together and gelled as a group as a whole, and I think that will be really important for the rest of the season.”

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