THE players from the Rangers Academy made a visit to watch Vilarreal against Sporting Gijon at the weekend and it was another great learning opportunity for the players.

The team has been in Valencia for a week now and on their day off at the weekend, the whole squad made the trip to Estadio El Madrigal to watch the La Liga tie, a great way to put into practice their pre-trip Spanish lessons.

Speaking after the trip, midfielder Max Ashmore said : “It was a two hour bus journey for us on the way up and it was good to get out of the hotel as it was our day off from intensive training over the last few days.

“It’s totally different from Scottish football, the whole vibe is different and going to the game was a good learning experience for us all to watch a first class La Liga game.

“The match was much more chilled and relaxed than it can be at some Scottish games, with less singing – everyone was there and paying attention to watching the game of football.”

Defender David Brownlie was also impressed by the standard of football and how different it is to watching games in Scotland.

He said: “I thought the standard of football really good and it’s different to watching games at home.

“Here there was a lot of short and sharp combinations and the teams liked to get it into the wide areas and to score goals from there.

“Everyone was there to enjoy themselves and it was a great experience to go.”

Following the match, the squad came together and were put into groups to discuss the match by their coaches including chatting through the formations, styles of play, key players and key moments.

Ashmore explained: “We all came together after the match and discussed it and all the different players that we had watched.

“We were sitting in groups and we had to discuss and consider four different questions. To get the views of other people and to hear the opinions of others was really good.

“It gave us a different view on the game and was a really good exercise.”

The players were impressed with several players, as Brownlie continued: “There is a player on loan from Barcelona called Alen Halilovic playing for Sporting Gijon who was fantastic.

“He always in the spaces between the defenders and the midfielders, in a similar role to what Messi plays and caused a lot of problems.

“I also think that Salgado for Villarreal was really good. To watch players at another team who play in the same position as you is always a good learning experience.”

The Academy side are in action against Levante tomorrow and you can check out some pictures from the visit to El Madrigal in the gallery above.

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