Former Rangers star Ronald de Boer has urged manager Steven Gerrard to start playing youth players at Ibrox in an effort to build for the future, as reported by The Herald.
De Boer famously won the UEFA Champions League with Ajax in 1995 have coming through the academy at the Dutch club with a number of other stars in the team that lifted the trophy.
He’s also a youth coach at the club currently, helping talented players make the transition into a side that has made the quarter-final of the big European competition this season.
Now he reckons youth development is the key to serious progression at Rangers, even if it means conceding ground to Celtic in the short-term.
As quoted by The Herald, the former attacker said:
I am in favour of giving the kids time. Rangers shouldn’t think they have to challenge Celtic right away. At the end of the day, when you bring through your own players your club will be so healthy. It is also great for the fans to have local boys in their team. That is something special.
If you put a lot of money into the youth system like we do at Ajax then in the end you will get the results. When that is working properly, when you have good youth coaches, then you will always be a very healthy club.
Sometimes you have a good generation and you have four or five players who come through to the first team. But you are also doing well if you have one or if you are lucky two coming through into the first team. That is a very healthy situation.
I think Rangers should look to do it more and not just focus on signing players for the first team. It always starts with the foundation and the pillars of success are the youth.
They are very interesting comments indeed, although it does discount one obvious downside to conceding ground to Celtic over the next couple of years.
Rangers must be doing everything possible to stop Celtic winning a mythical ten titles in a row. That’s why Steven Gerrard has been brought to the club and why so much has been invested in his first-team so far.
The thought of our city rivals achieving that feat is unthinkable, so while De Boer’s comments are probably logically correct, from an emotional point of view fans won’t stand for flooding the team with youth if it means not competing for the title.
If Gerrard can do the business next season and lift the title, then it’s a definite long-term view that is worth exploring.
What do you make of Ronald de Boer’s comments? Have your say below…