Gerrard should hand debut to highly rated 17-year-old tonight
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images for DFB

Rangers boss Gerrard should hand Kai Kennedy debut vs Stranraer

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard should hand a competitive debut to Kai Kennedy during tonight’s clash against Stranraer at Ibrox as a reward for impressive youth team displays.

The manager has stated he will make changes but still name a strong XI for the Scottish Cup Fourth Round tie [Rangers FC Twitter].

We’ve already suggested that four key men be rested, but clearly, this game will be taken seriously as the Gers look to make a statement on their return from the winter break.

Connor Goldson is one of those who should be kept fresh for the return of the Premiership. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

However, that being said, there’s still room for some experimentation against third-tier opposition.

That’s why there’s a good chance that one or two Academy starlets will be named on the bench, and Kai Kennedy deserves to be there.

After outstanding displays for Rangers Colts, Rangers U18s and Scotland U19s over the first half of the season, the youngster has earned his opportunity.

He’s far from the finished article, but there is precedent for debuts at this age, with Dapo Mebude and Josh McPake both making their respective bows when still 17.

Mebude has made one Premiership appearance. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

What’s more, the winger has had a taste of the matchday experience before, having travelled with the senior squad for the 3-1 win over Hamilton in November. 

Kennedy has also been a regular in first-team training for some time now and turned out against Lokomotiv Tashkent during Saturday’s friendly win in Dubai.

A creative attacking talent, it would be great to see him come off the bench in the second half if the Gers have a healthy lead.

There’s been a lot of discussion about the pathway between the Academy and the first-team, and tonight is a great opportunity to give another youngster a taste of the big time.

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