Rory Wilson: Rangers' lost battle, promotion at 15, at mercy of system, who is next out of Ibrox
When Rory Wilson celebrated his 16th birthday on January 5 this year, Rangers remained hopeful of securing his immediate future at the club with a first professional contract.
However, it now appears they have lost the battle to hold onto the prolific striker, who is set to become the latest young Scottish talent to be lured south by a lucrative English Premier League contract.
Aston Villa, whose manager Steven Gerrard and his coaching staff would have been well aware of Wilson’s emerging talent during their time at Rangers, are now in pole position to sign the teenager from Girvan, who has also been regularly scouted by Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham this season.
Wilson has scored 40 goals across all competitions this season. His performances at under-18 level for Rangers earned him promotion to their B team squad at the age of just 15 when he made four appearances in the UEFA Youth League.
The prowess of the six-foot tall prodigy was most recently on show at international level when he scored both goals for Scotland as they came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 against Czech Republic in a European under-17 Championship qualifier at the Falkirk Stadium last Wednesday.
After a 4-0 defeat against top seeds Germany on Saturday, the young Scots need a convincing win against Georgia in their final group game in Falkirk on Tuesday to have any chance of reaching the finals in Israel this summer.
Wilson has scored six goals in seven appearances for Scotland since breaking into the under-17 squad in September last year. Last month, he scored in a 2-2 draw with England in a friendly at the Oriam in Edinburgh as interest in his signature from a host of Premier League clubs intensified.
Rangers are at the mercy of a system which leaves them unable to compete with the contractual terms on offer in England. Wilson’s international team-mate Ben Doak, also 16, is set to join him in heading south with the Celtic winger close to agreeing a deal with Liverpool.
There will be a development compensation fee for Rangers, likely to be in the region of £300,000, for Wilson in a scenario similar to the departure of Billy Gilmour to Chelsea in 2017.
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