MARK ALLEN insists the Rangers Academy is “fundamental” to the future success of the club, and he will do everything he can to ensure young players get their chance.
The Ibrox Director of Football has been hard at work creating a brand new Scouting Department – but he is determined to see youth given their chance first before the club goes to recruit other players for their specific positions.
He explained: “It is fundamental. The last thing you want to do is block the pathway of an Academy player, so that dialogue is absolutely critical.
“That takes place now, obviously with my own background, and being very aware of the Academy setup having worked previously at Manchester City.
“So I think that relationship between first team and Academy is absolutely critical, and that is why David Stevenson is becoming part of the recruitment team, reporting through the scouting department, but he will be focused on the Academy.”
Allen believes there to be strong talent in the youth crop at present, and he pointed to the likes of Ross McCrorie as evidence of that.
He continued: “I think we have already seen it. You’ve seen Ross McCrorie, who has broken through and has done very, very well for himself so far. Jamie Barjonas is on that fringe and came on to the pitch on Saturday, as did Ryan Hardie.
“There are one or two others who are starting to show promise, and again, all off the back of a clearly defined philosophy. So that link with the first team is absolutely critical and has to happen. For me, we have to have Academy players making it into our first team arena. They have to be good enough – that is the job of the Academy – but we have to give them that opportunity.
“Part of that scouting and recruitment will be ensuring we don’t block the pathway of some of those players by just recruiting others.”
Naturally, supporters will be wanting to see results as soon as possible and Allen is hoping improvements will be visible every time the club has the opportunity to bring new players in.
He added: “I think it will be window by window, and it will get significantly better as time goes on. Obviously we have a playing squad right now and my job is to look at that and work out where those contracts need to be extended, renewed and run down.
“All of those things are part of this role and then, as a result of that, you will be able to target very clearly the types of positions you will want.
“I’d like to think moving forward that every position we replace or add to brings significant benefits to the football club.”
Rangers, at present, are on the lookout for a new first-team manager, but Allen insists the appointment of that individual and any potential future individuals will have no impact on his department.
“No. This is a club-led philosophy and I think that is one of the most important things that the manager is a significant part of this.
“Obviously, the manager will pick the team and the tactics, but overall, we need to have a club-led philosophy and my job is to make sure whoever manages this football club fits into that philosophy.”
And, on the search for a new manager, Allen said: “As you can imagine, it’s something which has come up very quickly, but the one thing I would say is we need to do our due diligence and we need to be sure this process is given the right time to find the right person.”