RANGERS have had an youth side in Turkey this week and with RangersTV giving you behind the scenes access you can get closer than ever before to the Gers Youth Academy.
Creag Robertson, Head of Academy Business and Education, spoke at the end of the seven day trip to the Second International Friendly Youth Tournament, hosted by the Turkish Football Federation.
The Gers played in three matches during trip against top opposition and Robertson has been delighted with how it has gone. He said: “It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable week, extremely beneficial for our players, our coaches and our support staff.
“Everything about the competition, the tournament and the provision is of an elite level. It’s exactly where we should be.
“The level of opposition, the facilities, the food provision and the training facilities has lent itself to a fantastic week for our young players to go and learn and develop.
“We are in a really privileged position to have had RangersTV film this over the last seven days to show supporters. This is what we do throughout the year within the academy” Something which was echoed by Head of Academy Craig Mulholland recently as he gave an update on a busy spell for the Academy.
Robertson continued: “Our under-12s were over in the Algarve Cup, reaching the final there. Our under-11s reached the quarter final of another one of the biggest youth tournaments in Europe. Our under-16s were over in Tenerife last week, they were in Germany in January and will be going abroad again in the summer.
“Our under-19s were in France this week, allied to their own Games Programme, where they play foreign competition throughout the year as well. They had their own two week training camp in Valencia at the turn of the year.
“All of these programmes that we do throughout the year help us work with our young players, not just from a football point of view, but from a holistic view where we look at all aspects of their development.”
Within the series of seven videos captured by RangersTV and available on YouTube now, you can find out more about all aspects of the trip and how the Academy educate the players on the importance of things like video analysis.
Robertson continued: “This week alone, we’ve been able to do media training with the guys. We have unique contact time with them putting them in front of a camera, teaching them how to deal with certain types of questions.
“Our analysis sessions with our video analyst have been good. They have been doing daily sessions, we’ve had evening sessions as a team.
“They’ve had morning sessions too, added to that we have individual sessions and position specific sessions.
“There’s real detail in terms of the analysis that these guys get reviewing what they do on the football pitch. It’s all part of their own development.”
With several matches taking place in short succession and in higher temperatures than the players are used to, it was the perfect time for the squad to get used
“We have Paul Griffin here with us, he’s our physio who leads on the recovery process. We do a lot of injury prevention work with the guys which is important given the schedule that the guys have had.
“With very few days off, the recovery process has been absolutely pivotal. Paul has led on that and educated the guys about why we do certain things at certain times.
“They might moan a couple of times about the coldness of the water for example, but its all part of the recovery process and important to allow them to go and perform the next day.”
With the traveling squad all still in education and continuing to learn away from the pitch, it was important that this was built into the trip, something that Robertson said was integral to everything the Academy does.
He continued: “We’ve also had education sessions, because some of the guys have exams coming up. It’s important that they maintain that level of academic performance that is integral to our programme.
“They have done several hours this week where they have done supervised study time, where we liaise with our schools to make sure we get the right material for the guys to work towards in preparation for their exams at the end of the month.
“All of these things lend themselves to a week away with us. We don’t get the same contact time constantly, so we need to make sure that we make the most of opportunities like this.”
It’s imperative that trips such as this one isn’t considered in isolation, as the academy is trying to not only make excellent Rangers footballers, but also excellent young adults who are a credit to themselves and their families.
Robertson explained: “It’s not only our responsibility to make them top footballers, we want to make them top citizens too. It’s a holistic approach and weeks like this are pivotal for us and essential to our programme.
“The Board have really bought into the Academy, and it’s lending itself to a performance and to an elite environment.
“There’s a fantastic environment within the academy and its up to us to really go and push our players to go and reach that level where they ultimately go and play in the first team.
“Our shining example is Ross McCrorie, who is a young man who has achieved a lot and still has a lot more to come. His attributes, his workrate, his desire and the way that he caries himself is exemplary.
“That’s a young Rangers player and that’s what our young boys should be aspiring to. It’s great to have such a role model like that from the academy.”
You can stay up to date with all the latest news from the Rangers Academy on the club website HERE, check their fixtures and results HERE and follow on our Twitter account dedicated to updates on the Academy HERE.
You can watch every video from this week at the following links too: