Pat Nevin urges Rangers winger Barrie McKay to quit Ibrox
Unlike some high-profile team-mates, the 22-year-old was not left out of the 30-man squad named by Pedro Caixinha for the first qualifying round of the Europa League. However, McKay has reportedly been informed by the Portuguese manager that he is not willing to allow him to spend the final season of his contract at Ibrox because he is not part of his plans.
Nevin can understand why the winger would wish to remain at Ibrox and fight for his place but counsels against that course of action, claiming that managers’ opinions, once formed, rarely change.
He had a similar experience himself while with Everton. Signed from Chelsea by Colin Harvey, he soon found himself frozen out when Howard Kendall returned to Goodison and his determination to prove the latter wrong cost him dearly.
“The advice is simple for any player; if you’re not getting first-team football then go somewhere else and get it,” said Nevin after helping to make the draw for the first round of the Irn-Bru Cup yesterday.
“Football is an industry where people are usually straight with you. You’ll be told: ‘You’re not my type’ and you can get moving. It happened to me at Everton; a new manager came in and I wasted a year trying to show him how good a player I was. But it didn’t matter how good I was – he just didn’t rate me. I still played in a lot of games but I was mainly a substitute and I shouldn’t have stayed.
“Before that, there were a hell of a lot of big teams chasing me, including Celtic, Galatasaray and West Ham. By the time I moved a year later those choices weren’t there any more and I joined Tranmere Rovers.”
Nevin argues that McKay, who made his Scotland debut against France 12 months ago, should not consider remaining at Ibrox beyond Christmas if he is still a peripheral figure.
“You want to show loyalty and there’s nothing wrong with that,” he claimed. “But you also have to think of maximising your potential. Not earning potential – that will come if you are good enough – but the potential of what you can do on the pitch. You can only do that by playing first-team football.
“The transfer window now works in six-month blocks and the maximum you should leave it is six months. Some people talk about leaving it a year and running your contract down, which sounds really good in theory but it isn’t always. A year is a long time to lose when you’re young and we know Barrie has a lot of talent.”
Caixinha is believed to have told McKay that he will be expected to train with the Under-20s from now on and Nevin regards that point to be unambiguous. “I think you have to take on board that that might be a message you seriously need to consider in the short term,” he said, defending the player from critics who claim he does not consistently impose himself on matches.
“Every winger wants to play No 10,” he said. “The reason? You could be in world-beating form but, if you don’t have the ball at your feet, you have no chance.
“Sometimes on the wing there’s nothing at all you can do if you’re asked to stay wide. I had managers who said if I moved in they would substitute me because they needed to create space and width and I understood that.
“So it’s not as simple as saying he doesn’t have an influence. Give the guy the ball in the right areas and I’m very confident he can affect games against the vast majority of sides.”