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Rangers youth development


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#1 zander

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 11:47 PM

RANGERS Football Club have obtained permission from the SPFL to be excused from the Development League for season 2017/18.

The Club will instead create a ground-breaking and challenging games programme against Europe’s best young talent. The fixtures will involve matches against the top clubs in Europe and in the EPL and is designed to significantly accelerate the development of some of the countries brightest prospects.

Head of Academy, Craig Mulholland, was part of the working group which led to the creation of the SFA’s Project Brave initiative, which is designed to improve the standard of player being produced in Scotland.

Two of the key outcomes were the need for clubs to be innovative in their approach to developing young players and the issue which clearly exists of transitioning talent from the Academy to first team from ages 17 to 21.

This initiative takes a lead on both fronts and we are pleased to do so with the full backing of the SPFL and the Scottish FA, in particular their new Performance Director, Malky MacKay.

Rangers under-20s will still feature in the Scottish FA Youth Cup and SPFL Challenge Cup. However, cross-border fixtures against the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Southampton will be arranged to provide our young Scottish players with a unique and different challenge.

This ambitious programme will also incorporate games against quality youth teams from top European clubs such as Benfica, Sporting Lisbon, Liepzig and Bayern Munich, plus domestic games with Scottish League 1 and League 2 first-teams to give our young talent the chance to test themselves at all levels. These games will replace the weekly Development League fixtures.

Rangers will invest heavily in this proposal and it is a further example of the significant change which has taken place within the club’s Academy over the last two years. It also demonstrates that developing players for our first team sits at the heart of the club’s business plan and is now embedded in the club’s DNA.

Craig Mulholland commented: “The first step was to acknowledge that, at Rangers, and indeed for Scotland as a country, we must produce a much higher standard of player.

“We must accept that for us to become a club renowned for producing elite talent, and for Scotland again to become a top football nation we are required to brave enough to undertake significant change from the way we have developed footballers in the past.
“In the past two years we have undertaken many new initiatives, including the introduction of a new Academy game model, a new performance culture, a schools programme giving our elite players 16 hours of contact time with Academy staff each week over a four year period, and we have invested significantly in new quality expert staff.

“There has also been a massive increase in ‘best v best’ challenge with more than 140 games cross border this season throughout the Academy and a new philosophy, redressing the balance between ‘winning v challenge’ for optimal athlete development, has been developed.

“As a consequence of these positive changes, and many others, we have some outstanding talent in our Children’s, Intermediate and Senior Academy and so the next critical stage for us in our evolution was to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit promoted by Project Brave and challenge the norm regarding the development of players aged 17 to 20. It was important that we were radical in our approach and pushed the boundaries and we believe this unique project achieves that.

“We are grateful for the support of the SPFL and the Scottish FA, who can see the potential benefits for the national game as well for Rangers given the number of young Scottish international players who will be involved in the programme.
“Our observations and research suggests that young Scottish players between the ages of 15 and 17 are every bit as talented as their peers in other European nations and we believe we must expose them to a challenge and fixtures programme which, not only matches, but exceeds, the quality of provision experienced by their peers in these countries.

“This should, as a minimum, keep their development trajectory in line with these top nations and reduce the drop off figure of 37% for our best potential talent making the transition from Scotland 17’s, where we have been successful, to the 21’s, who have not qualified for many years

“The challenge the players will receive on a weekly basis will, we believe, push their development to a level not experienced before by Scottish young players and will hopefully contribute to the creation of a much higher level of player, and indeed a different type of player, than has been produced in recent years.
“This year in the development league we decided to enter a team with an average age just under 18 playing against teams with an average age of just over 20. This created struggle and adversity for our young players in the first half of the season and the group averaged 1.2 pts per game up until February.

As the young players came through the struggle and developed coping mechanisms playing against physically more developed and experienced players, since February, they won 9 and drew 2 of their last 13 games averaging 2.2 pts per game.

“They also reached the Scottish FA Youth Cup Final playing a team with an average age of 17.5 in an under-20 competition. This environment and challenge was created by design.

“The new games programme will create a fantastic challenge for the players on a whole new level and will hopefully result in the same positive outcome where the young Scottish footballer ends up competing favourably with his top European counterparts.

“This programme will also ensure our young Scottish talent is not facing Europe’s top players for the first time when playing for Rangers first team in Europe, or for Scotland at international level.

“Our match programme will be one of the best in Europe and will be attractive and exciting for our best young players. This will act as a stimulus for them to push their own development on a daily basis.
“We will mix these cross border fixtures at U19/20 level with matches in Scotland against League One and League Two teams. Again this exposure to playing against men will be critical in the development of these player.

“We will also try to play the European matches and the games against Scottish first teams at venues and times which will generate a good crowd as the exposure to playing in front of a large Rangers support will also play an important part in accelerating their progress

“This is an exciting initiative for the Rangers Academy and I thank the Rangers Board, the SPFL and the Scottish FA for their support.
“The fact that 2017/18 is the last year of the SPFL Development League makes it the ideal time to undertake such a pilot and the evidence we gather after the pilot year, positive and negative, can be used in consultation with the SPFL and the Scottish FA to shape future games programmes in the country.

“To improve we must change and we believe this is an exceptionally positive and exciting change for Rangers and Scottish football”

Rangers Managing Director, Stewart Robertson said: “The board are excited by this initiative as we want to become market leaders in all areas of our business and we believe that this project is innovative and very forward thinking.

“As we aim to create a modern, progressive football infrastructure it is projects such as this which will hopefully provide us with a competitive edge in the area of player development, ultimately resulting in a successful winning Rangers team containing players of significant financial value.
“Developing our own players is a big part of our future at Rangers and is at the heart of our business plan for the club. There is no question that change is required to try to improve the standard of player being produced in our country and we are delighted to be leading that change. We look forward to seeing the outcomes of the project in years to come.”

 

 

An interview with Craig Mulholland on Rangers tv....

 

 

 

We have seen for decades now that most Scottish players seem to stop developing around 17/18 so for me this is a brilliant idea.



#2 Travis Bickle

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 07:29 AM

He mentions Annan. Hopefully play them at a sensible time as Galabank is one of the few grounds I have to tick off my list.

Playing at St Mirren park may be an idea. Very decent surface. Small ground where the crowd could still create an atmosphere and I am sure they would welcome the extra income

The crowds , in my experience of under 20 / reserve games , are usually very disappointing with one or two rare exceptions. It has always been a problem to get regulars to attend. Hopefully playing the top teams in England will persuade a few to attend

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#3 Camshy

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 08:10 AM

Sounds like a great idea and improving the opposition can only be a good thing for the players.

Any time I read forums there does seem to be an interest in watching the youth players but are most of the games not at Murray Park/Auchenhowie where it can be difficult to get in and watch ?

Hope this turns out to be beneficial for the young guys development and we start to see more fleeting appearances of the youth guys.

#4 Travis Bickle

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 01:14 PM

Sounds like a great idea and improving the opposition can only be a good thing for the players.

Any time I read forums there does seem to be an interest in watching the youth players but are most of the games not at Murray Park/Auchenhowie where it can be difficult to get in and watch ?

Hope this turns out to be beneficial for the young guys development and we start to see more fleeting appearances of the youth guys.


I think we have played a few at Dumbarton and Forthbank in recent years. Crowds were disappointing but quite often games were played midweek afternoon kick off.

I ve seen them away at Rugby Park and there was a few hundred Rangers supporters there.

When we played St Mirren at Ferguslie there was a very decent crowd.

If they play them at sensible times. Well advertised and reasonably priced then there is a chance of decent crowds

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#5 cas79

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 04:37 PM

I don't get it, who are they going to play as most decent sides will have there own leagues, cups Europe, also who would want to put there young stars up against crap opposition 13th last year 11th this year if they want to improve there youth play them at a level they can compete,

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#6 endersgame

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 04:48 PM

I have looked into youth development in other countries and sports and found a few things that may be of interest to some people.

 

First thing is how IQ is related to "talent".

 

-  The average IQ in the west is around 100. The average IQ of an elite athlete is 120 - which is an equivelant of a university graduate. The reason inteligence seems to be so important to sucess in sports is that it is important for youngsters to pick up skills earlier and with ease since the ideal window of learning the game is between 10 - 16 years of age. It is also worth noting that mental strength has a strong relationship with IQ. People with high inteligence tend to perform much better under pressure than others.

 

Two other psychological traits are regarded as important - consciencousness and industriousness, two traits Christiano Ronaldo has to a pathological degree. Give that guy a shovel and he'll keep digging a hole to the centre of the planet.It's just the way the guy is wired.

 

A lot of you won't like what I'm about to say, but - you cannot take an average kid and turn him into a world class footballer, it's just not going to happen. An average kid will not have the mental discipline and knack for learning that the likes of Messi, Iniesta or the mental fortitude that Ronaldo has. If the likes of Rangers keep recruiting the same way they have been for the last 20 years they'll see the same results and it won't matter what sort of programme or training regime or coaching set-up we use.

 

The truth is - culturally, Scotland and the rest of the UK have a huge disivantage, because inteligent bright kids will be taken of the football field and shoved have a book shoved under his nose.



#7 zander

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 05:02 PM

I don't get it, who are they going to play as most decent sides will have there own leagues, cups Europe, also who would want to put there young stars up against crap opposition 13th last year 11th this year if they want to improve there youth play them at a level they can compete,

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Rangers play mostly 15, 16 and 17 years old in the under 20's and have done for the last two years, giving the players more of a challenge playing against more physical and experienced players. That's why we've not done well in the Leagues because that same approach is used at every age group in our set-up.

 

These players will have played against the same group of players week in week out for the entire time they have been in our youths, given the standard on average is shite in Scotland it can only benefit them to play against better players. It's not about beating them it's about being challenged.


Edited by zander, 16 May 2017 - 05:07 PM.


#8 Camshy

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 05:03 PM

Think you make an interesting point on the whole youth d3velopment issue but the one key factor is talent and then a desire and discipline to succede........also interesting to note that a number of pros have a lower than average IQ or certainly come across that way, even when they speak they sound a little daft.
IMO its all down to talent, then culture. If you have a higher than average IQ then all the better but if you have 2 guys identical in every way other than intelligence then the one who will be a bigger success will be the one with that desire and dedication and thats not solely down to IQ, well not IMO.


@cas, thats a fair point, what benefit will be in it for those teams. Either way its great for the youth guys of the club

#9 cas79

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 05:10 PM

That's what I don't get these players fail time after time against the average shit here in Scotland as you put it, they get pumped regularly of that same shite so the teams they are already playing against are better than them just now

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#10 zander

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 05:34 PM

That's what I don't get these players fail time after time against the average shit here in Scotland as you put it, they get pumped regularly of that same shite so the teams they are already playing against are better than them just now

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It's not about beating anybody that's why we're playing kids against older more experienced players to offer them challenges and hopefully developing them.

 

For decades Scottish clubs have failed to produce quality footballers, i'm not saying this will work but i am glad my clubs trying something different than the same old shite that clearly doesn't work.



#11 cas79

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 05:46 PM

Thats my point if they get pumped regularly just now hows getting pumped off better teams going to help a kids development there heads will drop and loss interest, i mind Celtic tried it when the reserve league stopped but there was no appetite for it out with our league and that was with celtic already being invited to loads of youth tournaments, I do agree that something different has to be done cos as a nation we've been going backwards

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Edited by cas79, 16 May 2017 - 05:48 PM.


#12 Camshy

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 05:50 PM

Thats my point if they get pumped regularly just now hows getting pumped off better teams going to help a kids development there heads will drop and loss interest, i mind Celtic tried it when the reserve league stopped but there was no appetite for it out with our league and that was with celtic already being invited to loads of youth tournaments, I do agree that something different has to be done cos as a nation we've been going backwards
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I understand your point but there is no doubt you improve playing better teams even if they wallop you.

#13 cas79

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 05:55 PM

You also get disheartened getting pumped all the time,

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#14 endersgame

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 05:56 PM

Think you make an interesting point on the whole youth d3velopment issue but the one key factor is talent and then a desire and discipline to succede........also interesting to note that a number of pros have a lower than average IQ or certainly come across that way, even when they speak they sound a little daft.
IMO its all down to talent, then culture. If you have a higher than average IQ then all the better but if you have 2 guys identical in every way other than intelligence then the one who will be a bigger success will be the one with that desire and dedication and thats not solely down to IQ, well not IMO.


@cas, thats a fair point, what benefit will be in it for those teams. Either way its great for the youth guys of the club

 

Although they appear to be idiots, don't forget that these are young men from a working class background that have sacraficed their education for football. I would also note that foreign players quickly become bi-lingual and some even speak 3 or 4 languages by the end of their careers.

 

Desire and dedication is all well and good, but their is a ceiling that some people will never be able to climb. I had a hard time accepting this since I was always told that with hard work and dedication anyone can achieve anything. That is simply not true and we have to stop lying to ourselves so we can move on. Clubs simply have to recruit better.

 

Anyway, here is a video on IQ and how well it predicts sucess in any field by 95% accuracy.

 



#15 Camshy

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 05:57 PM

Yeah I agree but as Zander says at least they are trying something, manager said it in his press conf too....he prefers to be the first to try things even if it fails and that is a good thing.
Willimg to try something else

#16 Camshy

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 05:59 PM

Although they appear to be idiots, don't forget that these are young men from a working class background that have sacraficed their education for football. I would also note that foreign players quickly become bi-lingual and some even speak 3 or 4 languages by the end of their careers.
 
Desire and dedication is all well and good, but their is a ceiling that some people will never be able to climb. I had a hard time accepting this since I was always told that with hard work and dedication anyone can achieve anything. That is simply not true and we have to stop lying to ourselves so we can move on. Clubs simply have to recruit better.
 
Anyway, here is a video on IQ and how well it predicts sucess in any field by 95% accuracy.
 
https://youtu.be/jSo5v5t4OQM


I agree in part but Im not saying just dedication will work.....talent is the be all and end all.

#17 Travis Bickle

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:22 AM

That's what I don't get these players fail time after time against the average shit here in Scotland as you put it, they get pumped regularly of that same shite so the teams they are already playing against are better than them just now

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It was explained earlier in the thread to you and is also mentioned in the article by Craig Mulholland.

Rangers youngsters at a certain age are loaned out if they haven't made the first team. These are Rangers Under 20s.

The team Rangers have playing in the under 20 league is a very young team of 17-18 year olds. These youngsters are playing bigger more physically developed teams and the idea is it improves them as individuals and as a team. Mulholland gives you the stats that seem to show that results did improve.

The idea now will be Rangers won't loan out our youngsters at the 19-20 age group but will keep them together and play better opposition and on occasion first teams like Annan etc.

For me it is the way to go as we have been loaning out decent players that just went backwards.

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#18 Hoopz

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 06:39 PM

Alex rae on snyde made a good point, why go elswhere to play friendlies and it wont install the winning mentality of competition? I agree with him , better in development league and trying to win it
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#19 Elchappy

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 07:51 PM

I understand your point but there is no doubt you improve playing better teams even if they wallop you.

I can only speak with what I have seen at my sons 2005 age group. Their coach wanted to play better quality opposition as the boys would learn quicker - or so the theory goes.

 

Didnt work out that way, the boys learned to chuck the towel early, blame one another, get injured quickly, shout back at the coaches, and as a unit became entrenched in their own half.

 

Fast forward a few months and after a number of parents complained the boys were not developing, the coaches agreed to play competition at their own level. The difference has been night and day - not because they are winning but because the boys are competing for the entire game and have a much better approach to the game mentally. Granted its wee 12 year old boys, but there is a balance and once teams win a game or two they want to get in the habit.

 

Not sure whether footballing undergraduates will be quite comparable, but important they actually believe they can win a game or they will lose interest



#20 Travis Bickle

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 10:58 PM

Alex rae on snyde made a good point, why go elswhere to play friendlies and it wont install the winning mentality of competition? I agree with him , better in development league and trying to win it


At development stage it is not about a winning team but about getting players to develop into first team players.

A helluva lot of defeatist talk on this. Who is to say Rangers under 20s are going to lose all these games?

Something has to change and the loaning out of players was not working. Jordan Thompson for example has been at Raith all season. If he was still at Rangers he would have had at least a few games

wheresoeverwhensoever and howsoever we are called upon to make our exit. We shall do so as free men.





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