Rangers cruised into the next round of the League Cup with a routine 3-0 win over East Fife yesterday as Steven Gerrard made 10 changes to his starting XI – but the depth available to Gerrard now highlights a big problem for the Gers boss.
Glen Kamara was the only starter from Thursday’s win over FC Mitjylland to make the starting XI at Bayview as Gerrard made use of his sizeable first-team squad.
Despite all the changes though, there was no room for talented Academy stars such as Dapo Mebude, Josh McPake and Jamie Barjonas in the squad.
McPake looks set to secure a season-long loan deal to Dundee – and was spotted at Dens Park as they ran Aberdeen close in their own League Cup clash – but yesterday was the sort of game you’d expect to see youngsters given a chance to shine.
However, Gerrard has enough players at his disposal that there weren’t even spots on the bench available for the talented kids.
With a real issue in getting competitive game time for them, the Gers will likely have to make greater use of the heavily-flawed loan system and send these players to inferior clubs with an inferior coaching staff and hope they don’t get ruined.
Having the strength in depth that Gerrard can afford to make such sweeping changes without needing to fill his side with kids will have benefits for the Gers as they compete on four fronts this season – but it also throws up a major problem for the development of the club’s youngsters.
Rangers will continue to push for the inclusion of Colt teams into the league system – but until that happens, Gerrard, director of football Mark Allen and Academy boss Craig Mulholland need to make sure they have something in place to avoid seeing the club’s young players stagnate.