Rangers: Giovanni van Bronckhorst backs Leon King to follow Nathan Patterson in Ibrox blueprint

Nathan Patterson’s £12m move south to Everton has shown the way on a player pathway that more of his Ibrox youth team-mates can take, boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst has said.

Nathan Patterson burst onto the scene at Rangers and is evidence of the talent pathway inn progress says Giovanni van Bronckhorst. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Nathan Patterson burst onto the scene at Rangers and is evidence of the talent pathway inn progress says Giovanni van Bronckhorst. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

After rising through the ranks to international status and the Ibrox first team, Patterson made his multi-million pound move to the English Premier League last week and set a Rangers club record along the way.

As he moved on another defender, Leon King, moved up, signed a new deal and will now be regarded as a first-team squad member under Giovanni van Bronckhorst – and the continuity of progression is something to take forward, the Rangers manager has said.

“It’s what we want – a pathway for our talents to come from the academy to the first-team.

Leon King has been invited to the first-team regularly but will now be regarded among Giovanni van Bronckhorst's squad. (Photo by Rico Brouwer / SNS Group)

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“It’s very important for the club and it’s good for Leon, who’ll be involved with the first-team now.

“The young players at the club should look to what happened with Nathan, because he wasn’t long in the first team but his talent has been recognised by a big club in England.

“That pathway is there for the young players.

“At my other clubs I’ve always liked to get the talents involved in full-time training and I’ll do that every chance I can. I’m very happy with the standard and I’ll be pleased to have them coming into the first-team training once in a while.”

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James Sands met up and trained with his new team-mates this week ahead of next week's fixture with Aberdeen. (Photo by Brad Self/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

The Patterson profit margin was significant and could rise further from it’s £12m starting point that strengthened the club’s bank balance and – perhaps crucially – didn’t weaken the team given how seldom the 20-year-old managed to displace captain James Tavernier.

He told RangersTV: “Nathan going to Everton is a very good move for him. He was very happy to get the chance and, to play in the Premier League at his age is quite fantastic, really.

“I was happy to let him go – financially it was a good deal for the club so it was very positive for both parties.

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"Nathan was a 'back-up player’ so it was a win-win situation and basically we don't get any weaker.

"He was sold for a record amount that fits the long-term vision of the club.”

Evidence of the development blueprint and the player pathway being realised has pleased van Bronckhorst, but is only one aspect of the Rangers recruitment policy which added James Sands from New York FC on an 18-month loan last week. After his first recruit, van Bronckhorst won’t rule out adding more, but despite losing a blossoming talent like Patterson, he says he is happy with what he has so far – including King and Sands.

“James Sands can bring a lot to the squad – he’s a young talent and it’s very good to have him here. He’s versatile, can play in defence and midfield and we’re happy to develop him and make him a better player over the next 18 months.

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“We’re now almost a week back in training and we’re getting ready for the game against Aberdeen on the 18th.

"I am quite happy with the squad we have. I have confidence in them but if we have the chance to add some players we will definitely do it."

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