Murty reckons youthshake-up was overdue
GRAEME Murty has hit back at critics of Rangers’ decision to pull out of the SPFL Development League and insisted the radical move will be responsible for developing more players who are capable of playing in the first team at Ibrox.
The Glasgow club this summer announced their under-20 team would play friendlies against some of the biggest clubs across Europe this season instead of taking on their local rivals.
They received permission from the Scottish Professional Football League to remove their side from the domestic set-up in an attempt to improve the standard of their 17 to 21-year-olds.
That development has not been well received by everyone in Scottish football, but Murty, who has taken charge of the first team for the second time in a year following the sacking of Pedro Caixinha last month, is adamant it is already paying dividends.
“We are trying to change what we’ve always done,” he told the Training Ground Guru website.
“We’ve opted out of the games programme to test this method and find out whether it works. We’ve played Man City, Liverpool, Feyenoord, AZ Alkmaar.
“The best thing has been the discussion among the players afterwards. Often they say ‘we’ve not seen this style before’ or ‘we’ve not encountered this problem’. It’s challenging them and they are really enjoying it.
“In terms of progression to the first team, we’ve had a mini success with Ross McCrorie, who’s established himself, but it’s our job now to make sure this progression is consistent, that we are bringing through youngsters of the quality and standard and mindset to be Rangers players.”
Murty, who has been tipped to land the manager’s job on a permanent basis after leading the first team to triumphs over Hearts away and Partick Thistle at home, is the lead development squad coach at Rangers and he believes the Ibrox club is benefitting from placing a greater emphasis on youth development than it has in the past.
He also paid tribute to Caixinha, who was sacked after spending little over seven months in charge last month following a disappointing start to the 2017/18 campaign, for the encouragement he gave to the promising players coming through the youth ranks at Auchenhowie.
McCrorie, the 19-year-old centre-half, this week admitted that he would be forever indebted to the Portuguese coach for giving him his chance in the first team this season.
“We’ve got Ross McCrorie, Jamie Barjonas and Ryan Hardie in the squad, which is fantastic to see, and Robbie McCrorie and Liam Kelly coming up behind them as well,” he said.
“If I’m looking at the under-20s, I’d say 95 per cent of them have trained with the first-team squad at some stage this season, which is great.
“They get to see the best players doing what they do and what it takes to stay there.”
Graeme Murty has applauded the Ibrox side’s call to pit their youths against Europe’s elites