Pedro Caixinha wants Ross McCrorie to miss out on a massive England-Scotland clash to play in a challenge match against Benfica in Canada next month.
The young centre-back is in line to play for the Scots under-21s in a European Championship qualifier at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium on 6 October.
But Rangers manager Caixinha reckons he will learn more by taking on the Portuguese champions on the same date in Hamilton, Ontario.
Caixinha said: “Playing against Benfica will lead him to new adaptations. I want to test him in that situation, especially if Bruno Alves is away with Portugal.
“I think it will be more beneficial for Ross because Benfica will be a man’s game. When a young player is ready to play a man’s game, you’d prefer him to play at that level. If he’s playing against Jonas for instance, he’ll learn more.”
Rangers are facing Benfica in the 10th staging of the Eusebio Cup and Caixinha feels it is the ideal game during the international break.
He said: “It’s very important for us to be present in these sort of games. It’s a chance to play against a top team. There are many Scots and Portuguese in Canada, maybe that’s why they chose us. The stadium holds around 26,000 and it’ll be half and half. There is a huge Portuguese community in Toronto which isn’t far away. I know a lot of people are already looking to buy tickets.”
Caixinha also said they may look at plans to extend the three-year deal of Alfredo Morelos as English clubs, most notably Aston Villa, have been monitoring him. He said: “Maybe it’s something we need to start thinking about, extending the contracts of the players who are performing well, not just Alfredo.
“Wes Foderingham is a good example who has just extended. We now have Mark Allen to help us with those issues so I don’t need to be too concerned about it. But I’m always open to discussing it and getting the green light to keep the players here for longer.”