RANGERS Under-17s take on Raja in their first Group A match at the Alkass International Cup in Doha, Qatar this afternoon (kick-off 1.35pm GMT).
The young Light Blues will be hoping to start the prestigious international tournament with a victory but their Moroccan opponents will be out to add to the three points they have already secured following their heated 1-0 win over hosts Aspire Academy on Monday.
The 11-day Alkass International Cup is now in its seventh year and brings together some of the world’s top Under-17 teams to compete including PSG, AS Roma, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Spartak Moscow, with Rangers attending for the first time in 2019.
There are four groups each consisting of three teams and Gers coach David McCallum is looking forward to his side’s opening fixture today, which can be watched live on the Alkass International Cup Facebook page here.
He said: “I watched the opening two games of the tournament because I arrived at the venue a couple of days before the squad and they were good.
“The first was PSG against Kashiwa from Japan and that was a very tactical, technical game.
“On the back of that I watched the first game in our group, Raja against Aspire, and it was much more competitive and aggressive and about making it difficult to play.
“We are expecting more of the same today if we are being honest, but it’s something we feel we can cope with.
Being out here the tournament is almost like a World Cup for clubs as opposed to nations and the level of opposition is of a very high standard.
“We are going to come up against different styles of football and we have to deal with that, and we also want to show our own style and let clubs see that we can be competitive and control the game at the same time.
“In terms of this afternoon, I would like to see a performance that is similar to how we play back home.
“We don’t want to change too much as we want to dominate the game with the ball and, when we don’t have the ball, we have to show a real structure behind how we try and press and how we try to get it back.
“We will try to do that quickly so that the opposition don’t have time to get their heads up and play and that starts from our front players.”
The Rangers squad in Qatar, in alphabetical order, is as follows: Charlie Allen, Lewis Budinauckas, Adam Devine, Ciaran Dickson, Matthew Henderson, Jay Hogarth, Kai Kennedy, Leon King, Alexander Lowry, Arron Lyall, Ross McCausland, Kyle McClelland, Chris McKee, Cole McKinnon, Murray Miller, Ryan Muir, Harris O’Connor, Matt Yates, Nathan Young-Coombes.
For more information on the Alkass International Cup click here.