Rangers’ youth stars have been making plenty of headlines for the reserves in recent weeks.
Stephen Kelly, Dapo Mebude, and Andrew Dallas have been standouts at youth level this season. Dallas notched an impressive brace against Aberdeen for the reserves two weeks ago. That’s been followed by a fine Kelly performance against Brentford, who also nabbed two.
As expected, calls for more first-team opportunities for these youngsters have been called for. With so many fixtures coming up, surely it would be the perfect time to give one or two a shot?
In truth, the answer is no, and that’s simply because too many of these games are must-win. Rangers can’t afford to throw in youth players at the moment and risk calamity. The club still sit five points behind Hearts in top spot and four behind Celtic. Moving any further behind would be unacceptable at this stage.
Being knocked out of the Betfred Cup by Aberdeen last Sunday only increased pressure on Steven Gerrard. Despite his bright start to life in Glasgow, pressure has been cranked up and results are a must.
A time and a place
There’s a time and a place to give Rangers’ youngsters a chance. When you’re playing catch-up in the league, that’s not the time to do so. Once things settle down again and Rangers have a better understanding of where they’re going to finish – then the youngsters can be rolled out.
There was a potential sniff for Dallas to make a Rangers appearance. This, however, was only because of the fact that Rangers were looking for a third-choice striker. Even then, Gerrard decided to go for unfavoured front-man Umar Sadiq.
That shows that the Rangers manager isn’t in the frame of mind to give youngsters their shot just now. Bearing in mind, all three of the talents mentioned in this article all still need to develop their craft in the development squad first.
Opportunities at Rangers can’t just be handed out to any youngster that shows a bit of promise. It has to be earned, and a few reserve appearances doesn’t mean you’ve earned it.
The time will come when Rangers’ cream of the crop in their academy get their big moment. Will it come anytime soon? Highly unlikely.