RANGERS Academy coaches David McCallum and Kevin Thomson enjoyed a Twitter Q&A with fans for the Rangers Youth Development Company on Monday.
If you missed it, you can check it out here.
Both men played important roles in guiding the Rangers under 18s to league, cup and Al Kass tournament success this season and they were delighted to take questions from supporters for RYDC at the Hummel Training Centre.
Here are the highlights of their session…
Q – Curtis – Which players are close to breaking into the first team?
KT – It’s our job to prepare as many players as possible, and there are certainly a few who have the talent.
Q – Lewis – Who is your favourite first team player?
KT – Steven Davis. He has quality and that bit of class, a top top player. But the one that excites me the most is Ryan Kent. He is so positive and aggressive with the ball. He can make things happen at the flip of a coin. Plus he is young and he can only get better.
DM – I like Scott Arfield. Not just for the way he plays but how he acts around the building and looks after the young players.
DM – Andy Halliday is like that as well. They always look after our young boys. Just look at how many first team players came to watch us in the youth cup final.
Q – Scott Cameron – In the absence of colts joining the league is development loans vital to get the talented youths the competitive football they need?
KT –When I was 16, 17, 18 I played youth and reserve football and it’s not really happening in the current system. I think it’s good for our players to go out and experience different clubs and environments. It’s sink or swim.
DM – Colts is the ideal scenario for our guys to get men’s football but in our structure and the way we play. However, in the meantime each individual player will have their own plan and any loans will be dependent on the stage they are at.
Q – Cam Robertson – What advice do you have for young coaches?
KT – Be open to learn, have an opinion, put loads if hard work in and try and not run before you can walk.
DM – Being open minded is huge. Having a plan but knowing that the plan may need to change as you develop through your career.
DM – Having patience, especially working with young players. It can be a rollercoaster type journey but you have to enjoy it as well.
Q – Willy – Favourite goal of the season?
DM – The free kick in the cup final that Dapo scored from. And also Dapo’s goal on the counter attack against Motherwell.
KT – Dapo’s goal as David said against Motherwell or wee Kai’s free kicks against Hearts or Aberdeen.
Q – Willy – What are the expectations for next season?
KT – Keep getting better and improving. Keep trying to present as many players as possible to the manager. Winning trophies at youth level is nice but ultimately it’s about getting players into the first team.
DM – Everything Kevin says is spot on. And it is an exciting time, the squad is changing. We will have ten or eleven players coming up from the younger group or being brought in from other clubs.
Q – Rangers Youth Updates – Where have you developed as a coach this season & are you looking forward to the UEFA Youth League next season?
KT – I know how to put on a computer now! I have sore thumbs and square eyes.
DM – We are constantly developing. Working with players on a daily basis challenges us. We have a good in service programme. Which at times brings in external speakers.
DM – Michael Beale has given us an insight into the first team and Russell Earnshaw from the rugby world has also spoken to us and challenged our approach to working with young people.
DM – The UEFA Youth League is an under 19 tournament plus a few older ones so the older group will take part in that. It will be a good learning curve.
Q – Stu – Does KT ever get fed up of being sent ‘that’ tackle?
KT – No!
Since 2002, RYDC profits have been directed to Rangers Football Club’s youth programme – with almost £8 million provided so far.
And in January, Academy Head Craig Mulholland and youth graduate Glenn Middleton accepted an RYDC donation of £400,000.
For full details on RYDC’s growing portfolio of products – the re-launched Rangers Pools, Rangers Lotto, Rising Stars, Scratchcards, Stadium Bricks and the Youth Members Club – visit www.rydc.co.uk or call 0141 427 4914.