When it comes to Andy Little on Gareth McAuley, the Northern Irishman certainly has high praise for his countryman.
McAuley became Rangers’ 15th and final signing of the summer, arriving at the club on a free-transfer. The internationalist had a successful career down in England, spending 14 years down south.
His experience has seen him visit places like Old Trafford, Anfield, and the Emirates as he starred for West Bromwich Albion. The Baggies were his latest club, but left in the summer before signing for the Gers.
Little knows his countryman well, spending time on the international scene with him in the past. Little won nine caps with his country, and spent seven years at boyhood club Rangers.
Now, the forward plies his trade with Dumbarton whilst doing some punditry work for Rangers TV and Clyde 1.
Speaking on McAuley in the Herald, the forward provided him with a glowing comparison.
“Gareth is a really good lad, a brilliant character and a very, very good pro. He would remind me of the likes of Steve Davis, Davie Weir and Carlos Bocanegra.
“He is a top pro, he has been around the game and considering there are a lot of younger players in the squad, he certainly brings experience at the back. Nikola Katic and Joe Worrall are only 21 and Connor Goldson is not that old either.
“If Gareth gets his opportunity in there, nothing will faze him and he will know how to handle playing for Rangers.”
If McAuley is anywhere near as solid as the likes of David Weir and Carlos Bocanegra, then Rangers fans are in for a treat. Weir in particular was a massive success at Ibrox, captaining the side and spending five years with the club.
Bocanegra was also a solid performer during his time at Rangers. The support were ultimately robbed of seeing more from him after the administration/liquidation fiasco.
Many will already know of McAuley’s exploits regardless, and will have made their own minds up about him. The centre-back has made nearly 80 international appearances for Northern Ireland, and is a big Gers fan.
He also featured at Euro 2016, and helped his country reach the last-16 of the competition.
Whether he’ll get the game-time required is a huge question. It’s not ideal for the defence to rotate too often, and Steven Gerrard likes Nikola Katic and Connor Goldson. Joe Worrall is also available for selection after arriving on-loan from Nottingham Forest.
Little’s shining praised of his international team-mate proves he’s a reliable performer if anything. How often he gets the chance to show that, however, remains to be seen.