Scotland under-21 manager Scot Gemmill believes Glenn Middleton’s Scotland career is off and running thanks to Steven Gerrard.

Middleton has been called up by Gemmill to be part of the Scotland under-21 side to face Ukraine and England this week. The matches are huge if Scotland want to be part of the illustrious European Championships in 2019.

The youngster has already made four appearances for the under-21s to date, and picking him this time around was easy for Gemmill. The head coach has been thoroughly impressed with how Middleton has come on at Ibrox.

Steven Gerrard has managed Glenn Middleton tremendously well so far (Maria Jose Segovia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

He believes that the surge in his development has been massively beneficial because of the trust Gerrard has in him. Speaking ahead of what’s going to be a crucial week for the under-21s, Gemmill heaped praise on his winger.

“It comes down to trust. The fact the Rangers manager is prepared to trust him in the games of the magnitude he has is the biggest compliment you can give.

“He’s been fantastic for us. He’s been to three Under-17s finals with us as a young player. He can play for the 21s for the next two campaigns. As a young player he’s still playing at a disadvantage in that regard.

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“I’ve been impressed. Not surprised but impressed in terms of there’s a difference between these players getting the chance then taking it. He’s showing he’s made a great start in doing that. He has to still recognise and understand it is only a start and he has to continue to push. I’m sure his club will help with that.”

The trust of the manager

It’s clear that Gerrard has strong faith in Middleton to make an impact at the highest level. Throwing him on at both Parkhead and El Madrigal showed the level of belief he has in the young star.

 

Where the Rangers manager has impressed, however, is not giving him too much too soon. Middleton nabbed a few goals against Dundee and Ayr United respectively. He also played a vital part in the second equaliser at Villarreal. Despite these achievements, he hasn’t been rewarded with a consistent starting berth.

Middleton has made a huge impact in a Rangers jersey this season (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Gerrard understands that Middleton still has plenty to work on before he can displace the sensational Ryan Kent. It’s important to keep a talent like him grounded and manage him appropriately. If he continues to develop the way he is doing, he’ll be a future Rangers star in no time.

It’s a plus that those outside of the club can see the positive work that the Rangers manager is doing. Gerrard has impressed many outside of the game for what’s been a terrific start to life at Ibrox, and he’s looking like the real deal.

Gemmill has been around the course at Scotland for nearly five years now, bossing the under-17s and under-21s. His praise of Gerrard’s trust shouldn’t be dismissed.

As for Middleton, it’s important he uses these under-21 matches to not only help his country qualify for the 2019 European Championships. It’s also vital that he sends out a message to Gerrard that he wants and deserves more game-time.

Regardless, Rangers have a huge talent on their hands in any case.

 

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