Fur­man’s fly­ing for Smith and McCoist

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPORT - BY CRAIG SIL­VER

FOOT­BALL IT is rare for an English­man to cut it in Scot­land at the be­gin­ning of his ca­reer, but Dean Fur­man looks set to break the mould af­ter be­com­ing a reg­u­lar in Rangers’ first-team squad, just as their tre­ble charge gath­ers mo­men­tum.

Yet to make his first-team de­but, the 19-year-old has been an un­used sub­sti­tute in two Old Firm der­bies but is con­fi­dent his time will come.

Born in Cape Town, Fur­man grew up in Edg­ware, Mid­dle­sex, and was a JFS school­friend of Mac­cabi Her­zliya star­let Josh Ken­net.

With the team top of the Cly­des­dale Bank Scot­tish Pre­mier League and in the semi-fi­nals of the Uefa Cup, Fur­man hopes to help them build on their suc­cess in the CIS Cup.

“This has been a re­ally good sea­son for me,” he said. “I’ve pro­gressed from the youth team to the re­serves and have moved into the first team squad. This is ob­vi­ously a big step up and play­ing at a higher level is al­ways dif­fi­cult, but I feel I’ve coped with it quite well.”

He joined Ibrox af­ter be­ing spot­ted by Rangers’ youth de­part­ment in 2006, ini­tially join­ing on a two-year deal from Chelsea. When he left Stam­ford Bridge, cur­rent first team coach Steve Clarke, who knows him well, sang his praises, say­ing: “It is ob­vi­ously a big step up from the youth teams at Chelsea to the first team, but the lad has a lot of abil­ity. I watched him play in a cou­ple of games with our re­serves and was im­pressed. He’s a very tal­ented cen­tre mid­field player and he’s also a great kid with a great at­ti­tude.”

Af­ter ce­ment­ing a reg­u­lar place in the re­serves he has bro­ken into Wal­ter Smith’s squad since the turn of the year and is en­joy­ing the op­por­tu­nity to work closely with Smith and Rangers leg­end Ally McCoist.

His fond­est mem­o­ries in Scot­land have been cap­tain­ing the Un­der 19 team that lifted the SFA Youth Cup last sea­son — af­ter beat­ing arch ri­vals Celtic 5-0 — and be­ing a key player dur­ing the ti­tle-win­ning cam­paign.

Fur­man was one of a num­ber of play­ers to move from the youth team into the re­serves and he thrived at that level. Smith spot­ted his un­doubted po­ten­tial and called him into his squad. “It’s been good to be in­volved with the first team,” he said. “You take as much as you can get from them. Work­ing with the likes of Wal­ter and Ally has been fan­tas­tic for me. They have great ex­pe­ri­ence. One of the big­gest ben­e­fits of play­ing with the first team is that you get the chance to pick up so many new tips on how to im­prove your own game.”

Fur­man signed a new con­tract in 2007 which will see him re­main at the club un­til the sum­mer of 2009. How­ever, he ad­mits he is very set­tled and will not be head­ing any­where in the near fu­ture. “At the mo­ment I am very happy here and hope­fully I can keep pro­gress­ing and stay for as long as I can. I have plenty of time left on my con­tract and I’m very set­tled.”

As the South African born teenager qual­i­fies to play for two coun­tries, he has no doubt that, if in­ter­na­tional foot­ball comes call­ing, his heart would lie with his place of ori­gin.

“I’ve had a few call-ups for South Africa,” he said, “but one way or an­other it hasn’t re­ally worked out. But with the World Cup in two years, my loy­al­ties would lie there. For now, my main pri­or­ity is play­ing for Rangers and pro­gress­ing my ca­reer here be­fore any­thing in­ter­na­tion­ally.”

With the ma­jor­ity of matches on Satur­days, he is un­able to main­tain a re­li­gious lifestyle though he en­joys the tra­di­tions. “I am very close to a Jewish fam­ily in Glas­gow and have spent Seder night and oc­ca­sion­ally Fri­day night meals.”

Hot prospect: Dean Fur­man cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing his first goal for the Rangers re­serve team

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