DAVID MCCALLUM knows it’ll be difficult for youngsters to break into the Rangers first-team.
The B Team coach and Head of Professional Phase at Ibrox just sees that as a success of those already in Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s thinking.
But the fact a number of kids at Auchenhowie are staking a claim for inclusion on a matchday brings a real sense of pride to McCallum.
Alex Lowry’s rapid-fire entry into first-team matters has been well chronicled, Leon King has been touted as a star of the future and Charlie McCann, signed from Manchester United, has made the squad showing his intent of a future at Ibrox.
While the first-team is the end goal for young players in the Rangers ranks, McCallum reckons the B Team and European youth competitions play a vital part the pathway to professional football.
And following a similar style to the first-team for youth and B Team sides is part of the strategy with McCallum aiming to produce talents ready-made for first-team football.
Explaining the youth academy process, McCallum said: “We’re the B team at the club and we have to try and make sure we use as much of that information as what the first team do as we possibly can.
“You’ll have seen the first team in different moments have changed and tweaked in different games dependent on the level of opposition so we would, very much, do the same as well.
“You will see some similarities I would hope but that’s up to us to try and make sure in the game environment in that one individual game that we try and make sure we recognise where it’s best suited, where we can go and play the way we want to play.
“Getting to the first team should be difficult, it should be challenging because they’ve got some top players there so when these guys go and show well as they have done in recent weeks, of course, it’s very pleasing but it’s about trying to get them stick as well so that’s the next challenge and not just sticking it’s what’s coming behind that as well. It’s an ongoing challenge.”
This afternoon’s challenge for McCallum and his youth side comes in the shape of Sevilla in the UEFA Youth League. The Rangers kids have already scored wins over Hammarby and Septemvri Sofia to earn the play-off clash.
The fixture will see Lowry and King involved as they continue to divide their time between the first-team and youth side – and McCallum is hopeful of their stint in the senior dressing room producing assured performances back at their age group.
He said: “I’ve seen Alex and Leon come back in, Charlie McCann although Charlie’s ineligible for this game, he’s bouncing between the two squads at the moment.
“We always challenge them to come back to train and play at the first-team level and then challenge the others to get close to that as well.
“That’s what we want to do, we want to make sure we take every learning opportunity to maximise these moments.
“Alex has done really well in the games that he’s played.
“We’re very fortunate that he’s part of the group tomorrow so we look forward to that and hopefully he’ll challenge himself to make sure whatever he’s learned, as well as Leon, that they come back and show it with their performance.”
On Sevilla, who they play at Dumbarton Football Stadium, McCallum added: “We’ve seen quite a bit of them and liken them to Atletico Madrid who we played a number of years ago in the same competition so it’ll be a tactical challenge but hopefully, a football contest as well that we show up well against each other.”