Jordan Rossiter had Brendan Rodgers to thank two years ago when his boyhood dream came true and he made his first-team debut for Liverpool.
The England under-19 captain is now preparing to go head to head with his former mentor as they find themselves on opposite sides of Glasgow’s footballing divide.
Rossiter, who is in contention to make his first starting appearance for Rangers in today’s friendly against Burnley at Ibrox, smiles at the twist of fate which has resulted in him hoping to prosper at the expense of Celtic manager Rodgers this season.
“Brendan was a big influence on my career and I have a lot to thank him for in terms of my development,” said Rossiter.
“He gave me my chance in the first team at Liverpool and it was great to work under him. But I’m at Rangers now working for an exceptionally good manager in Mark Warburton.
“It’s funny how football works out and Brendan is now working across the same city as I’m working.
“I couldn’t have predicted that a few months ago, but these things happen all the time in football.
“Brendan is a good coach and has got his way of playing. We have got a good way of playing at Rangers as well, so it’s going to be an interesting battle. You want to beat every team in the league and with Celtic being Rangers’ main rivals, you always want to beat them.”
Rossiter was just 17 when Rodgers pitched him into a League Cup tie against Middlesbrough in which he marked his debut with a goal.
In total, the combative midfielder made five first-team appearances for Liverpool before deciding to move on at the end of his contract and sign a four-year deal at Rangers this summer.
Having been involved at Liverpool since he enrolled in their academy system at the age of six, Rossiter admits leaving the club he loves was not done lightly. But he is convinced his career will be enhanced by his move to Scotland.
“I could have stayed in England and been comfortable staying at home,” he added. “But I wanted to come and test myself at a massive club like this. I don’t think people down south realise how big this club is in Glasgow and around the world. You see it around the city and everyone loves the club.
“It was a tough decision but it was made easy when I saw how big the club is. When you know you are leaving a club like Liverpool, when a club like Rangers shows an interest there was only one place I was going to end up.
“Liverpool is a big club but Rangers is just as big in the world. I had breakfast with the gaffer, Davie Weir and [head of recruitment] Frank McParland back in May and I knew then where I was going to end up. I know Frank from his time at Liverpool but the gaffer and Davie were just as big an influence.
“I think the manager can bring me on as a player and I want to do well for the club. It is a good league, a chance to come and win trophies. Rangers are a massive club, it has always been known for winning trophies and challenging at the top. We have an obligation to get back there.
“I have seen the philosophy of the manager already at training. It’s a passing team and that is what my game is, to get the ball and keep it ticking over. It’s a team that plays the right way and that’s what really sold it for me.”
Rossiter did not arrive until last weekend, having been in Germany for the Uefa Under-19 Championship finals where he skippered England to the semi-finals. He made his debut for Rangers as a substitute in Monday night’s 3-0 Betfred Cup win over Stranraer at Ibrox.
“I knew I had to go to the Euros with England but I would probably have preferred to come here and get started right away and go for pre-season in America,” he said. “But I had my obligation to England and it was a good tournament.
“It was a huge honour for me to captain my country and we were unlucky to lose 2-1 to Italy in the semis. But that was enough for us to qualify for the Under-20 World Cup finals in South Korea next year, so that’s something else I’m looking forward to.
“I got four good competitive games under my belt with England in Germany, so my fitness is good.
“It has more been about catching up and settling in at Rangers as quickly as I can this week.
“It was great to get on the pitch at Ibrox and make my debut on Monday night. There were about 30,000 in the ground and you don’t get crowds that size in England at this time of the season. I really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to experiencing a lot more of that.”