With the departures of three youth players and potentially Jamie Barjonas as well, Rangers fans could be forgiven for thinking the club is failing our youngsters or that the crop of kids Auchenhowie is producing is just not good enough.
And that’s clearly not entirely wrong – we haven’t had a successful youth graduation since Allan McGregor and Allan Hutton in 2004-2006, and while some might push for Barrie McKay or Lewis Macleod, circumstances were very different in those days and even Fraser Aird managed to get a game or two.
But now? Times have changed and you have to be top quality to thrive at Ibrox.
But why is there none of that coming from the Academy?
Well to give a sense of perspective, Real Madrid, in a decade, have managed just four ‘successful’ youth graduations – Carvajal, Nacho, Lucas Vázquez and Mariano, while their el-clasico rivals Barca have an increasingly dreadful reputation too for the level of success their youth academy produces.
Meanwhile in the UK the picture isn’t a lot better. Of the top big six in England, only Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool have any kind of recent history for success. City’s Foden is a big stand out but hasn’t quite solidified his position there, while Liverpool can certainly boast Trent Alexander-Arnold but few others. Chelsea were forced into using youth during their ban, but even then Mason Mount is the only real survivor – Hudson Odoi and Abraham are on the fringes.
Man Utd too have not really inspired much either, for despite Rashford’s prominence, he’s about the only one who’s cracked the first team. There’s Greenwood and McTominay too, but the latter has made just one start this season albeit he made a strong 27 last campaign.
Our point? Rangers aren’t exactly inspiring belief in our youth system but then neither are some of the greatest clubs on earth either.
If the clasico pair and the best in England struggle with it, why should Rangers automatically be so much better?
If we take a reluctant look at the east, while they sure cashed in on Tierney as we did with Hutton, and Callum McGregor and James Forrest have become mainstays, we’re not exactly sure where else their ragingly successful youth is. Mikey Johnston?
They’re more productive than us, we admit that, but like most clubs globally, neither Celtic nor Rangers have a lot to boast about when it comes to our youth products.
Rangers are especially bad, no argument here – to only have produced one serious top-quality youth graduate in 14 years is not great. Some will argue for the likes of Danny Wilson or Charlie Adam, but we’re referring to players that we reared for our first team, not to let go or sell at profit.
No, we’re not alone on this, and we’re among the worst offenders, but it’s the sad way of the world.
The days of a Barry Ferguson, Alan Hutton or Allan McGregor seem long gone.