Gareth McAuley has warned his new Ibrox colleagues he is not viewing Rangers as a retirement home. The former West Brom centre-back has become Steven Gerrard’s 15th summer signing after agreeing a one-year deal.
Connor Goldson and Nikola Katic have formed an impressive partnership since signing this summer while highly-rated Nottingham Forest youngster Joe Worrall arrived last week to provide added competition.
But McAuley insists he had made his own move to Glasgow with the aim of playing a significant part himself.
He told RangersTV: “I have been watching the games and [Goldson and Katic] are good players who have been doing really well and the manager is really pleased with them as well.
“It is up to me to challenge them and to try to get in the team, but also to help develop them as well as they are the future of the club and the means to moving forward as well. “They are young boys and anything I can help them with, I will certainly do that.”
The 38-year-old has been a free agent since leaving The Hawthorns following the Baggies’ relegation from the Premier League at the end of last season.
But the Northern Ireland international – who has won 79 caps for his country and was a member of Michael O’Neill’s squad at Euro 2016 – says his move to Glasgow fulfils a lifelong ambition.
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He continued: “It’s massive for me personally. My family support the club and me myself as well.
“The street I was born on, the kerbs are painted red, white and blue so to get the opportunity to play for this famous club is amazing.
“I’m delighted to be here. I feel very honoured to be here and privileged as well.
“I have been here on a European night and the atmosphere is fantastic and electric, and it will be something I really look forward to.
“I feel there is a chance to win things here and a chance to be a part of something special.
“I’ve played a lot of games in the Premier League, but this club to me is as big as, if not even bigger than, a lot of the clubs in England.
“You see the support – it’s there every week. This is a massive club and for me, to be given the chance to be here, I feel really privileged.”
Gerrard had confirmed a move for McAuley was close following Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at Celtic Park.
The defender will now join up with his new Rangers team-mates when he returns from international duty following the upcoming double header with Bosnia & Herzegovina and Israel.
But having been without a club since his Baggies exit, McAuley admits he needs to work on his sharpness He said: “General fitness-wise, I feel good but in terms of sharpness I have a bit to catch up and I will have to work hard on that over the next couple of weeks to get up to scratch.
“There are two games coming up and hopefully I can get some minutes under my belt as well in them depending on what the manager thinks.”