Rangers chief talks 'exciting' recruitment, increase in English scouts & 'cash positive' Rory Wilson position

Rangers youth chief Craig Mulholland has explained the reasoning behind the club’s recruitment at youth level.

Prolific Hibs striker Connor Young could be the latest teenage signing made by the Ibrox club, following the likes of Bailey Rice from Motherwell, Lancelot Pollard from Aberdeen, winger Kieron Willox from Inverness CT, as well as Zak Lovelace from Millwall.

Mulholland, Rangers’ head of academy, spoke with TheRangersRabble">The Rangers Rabble outlining the long-term planning which has been in place to strengthen the club’s 2005 and 2006 age groups which had been formed when the team were in the Championship.

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The club now have a “succession-planning model” which helps create a “pipeline of talent all the way from Under-11 right through to the B team”.

“This is something we have planned for a number of years,” Mulholland said. “What happens is when you form your under-10 group which is your last amateur group, if you like, before they sign for the club at Under-11s. If you don't get that bit right at 10s then you are always chasing it, year after year.

"If you remember, the age these kids are now, seven years ago, that’s when the club were still in the Championship. At that point the academy hadn’t been remoulded and reshaped. We were probably still losing a lot of players to other clubs at that point.

"We've planned for this. What we look at is where are those gaps, where do the gaps occur and where do we recruit into those gaps to make sure we always have enough A-players in the system to push forward to the first team."

‘Really excited about’

Rangers head of academy Craig Mulholland (right). (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)Rangers head of academy Craig Mulholland (right). (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Rangers head of academy Craig Mulholland (right). (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

In recent years, a team of the club’s staff have been working on pinpointing talent to recruit into the club for the 05 and 06 age groups. Such a level of recruitment is not expected to be required in following seasons.

But that won't stop Rangers looking to unearth talent in Scotland, from private academies in England, while also taking advantage of FIFA’s cross-border rule, especially with the club's players attractive to teams in England with Rory Wilson moving to Aston Villa this summer in a six-figure deal.

“We make sure commercially we get the right deal for that and what that does is help fund a lot of the signings we have made this summer, using the FIFA cross-border model," Mulholland said.

"We’re sitting at the moment with a number of new A players in the building that we are really excited about but also sitting with a positive cash position from Rory heading down the road.

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“Because of the Brexit rules, the number of English scouts who come to our games has probably doubled or tripled, then what we had to do is when someone goes down the road we had to do a really good deal for Rangers.

"We have brought in some of the best young Scottish talent, there are some from the private academy market in England which is a really interesting market for us and also some lads that were offered contracts at their existing clubs in England that we have managed to attract up the road to Rangers.

“We’re really excited with the work we’ve done.”

The full interview with Craig Mulholland with The Rangers Rabble where he talks loan deals, player development and B team can be found HERE



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