Kelly, Maxwell, Kennedy and Dickson: How Rangers benefit from SPFL loan system
Ross County boss John Hughes has recently waxed lyrical on midfielder Stephen Kelly, while Ciaran Dickson and James Maxwell showed up well for loan club Queen of the South against this afternoon’s visitors to Ibrox, Hibs, in last Monday’s televised Scottish Cup tie.
Maxwell even found the net against Jack Ross’ side and Gerrard believes the exposure is a big plus for those not quite ready for his first team.
"The experience of getting game time on the pitch is valuable to their own personal development,” he explained. “We have some really strong relationships across the country who we have loaned players to and they’ve done a fantastic job.
"We believe when players are sent out they are still representing us as a club so it’s important to keep a dialogue, we are always in touch with the players but we are thankful for teams who take our players and who give them game time for their own personal development.
"Our loan manager discusses them regularly in meetings and which have been a success and which have not – it’s something we are very dilligent on.
“But we demand that those players go there and represent this club in the best way they can.”
Kai Kennedy is another who has caught the eye while at Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Raith Rovers this season and Josh McPake is making strides at Harrogate with a view to making the same impression when back at Rangers this summer.
With squad places limited at training and games, there is a balance to be truck between exposure elsewhere and keeping the kids closer to home.
Gerrard added: “We normally work between 23 and 25 depending on how many youngsters we keep around, but we always look for two quality players in each position and an extra goalkeeper incase of injuries.
"But we also try to get as many youngsters from the Academy around the first team from a training point of view and coming to games, just for the experience and to get them used to the first team environment.”