Gil­mour warned over life in acad­e­mies

The Herald - Herald Sport - - LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP - MARK WALKER

MALKY MACKAY, the SFA per­for­mance di­rec­tor, has re­vealed he’s of­fered ad­vice to young Rangers player Billy Gil­mour’s fam­ily about his fu­ture this sum­mer.

And he’s hinted he thinks Gil­mour would be bet­ter off stay­ing at Ibrox.

Gil­mour, one of Scot­land’s top hopes for the fu­ture, has been strongly linked with a £350,000 move to Chelsea this sum­mer.

But new Rangers head coach Pe­dro Caix­inha has per­son­ally spo­ken to the 15-year-old to try to per­suade him to stay at Ibrox.

Mackay has been im­pressed by the Scot­land Un­der-16 pow­er­ful play­maker and while he in­sists he never gets in­volved in club trans­fers, he’s warned Gil­mour he could get lost if he goes to a big club with a huge academy.

He said: “Billy can have his pick in the sum­mer and I had a con­ver­sa­tion with his dad. I was asked to give him my ex­pe­ri­ence as a player and coach in the past.

“But it’s about the path­way – the quicker you can test your­self against men, the bet­ter. To be tucked into an academy with 20 other in­ter­na­tional class teenagers, what chance are you go­ing to get?

“I won’t tell any club’s play­ers what to do. It was just about my ex­pe­ri­ences.

“At Wat­ford, Ash­ley Young could have left at a young age but didn’t, he opted to stay. Just three years later, As­ton Villa came back to buy him for £9 mil­lion be­fore he moved to Manch­ester United. That was op­posed to him go­ing into a youth team set-up with 25 other re­serves, 25 out on loan and 25 first team play­ers.

“He’d have had to go through that just to get a foot on the lad­der.

“And I al­ways give the ex­am­ple of Tom Clev­er­ley at Manch­ester United un­der Sir Alex Fer­gu­son. He was seen as a top prospect and Fergie had a four-year plan for him. He put him to Le­ices­ter in League One then I got him in the Cham­pi­onship at Wat­ford. Then he went to Wigan in the Pre­mier League. The fol­low­ing year, he played more than 20 games of league foot­ball. He was tear­ing up the di­vi­sions as a young star.

“There was a plan there and that’s what has to hap­pen.”

SNS Pic­ture:

YOUNG GUN: Billy Gil­mour is a wanted man.

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