SPORTING Director Ross Wilson has today announced that a restructure of the Rangers Academy has now been completed.
Ross Wilson began a review of Rangers Football Operations upon appointment, and the first stage has now been completed regarding the professional section of the Rangers Academy.
The Academy will now be organised as the Foundation Phase, Youth Development Phase and Professional Development Phase with the U20 Development Group becoming the Rangers B team with increased input from Steven Gerrard and connectedness to the First Team Coaching Staff.
Rangers will continue to strive with aspiration to create a quality Academy and todays changes are the next step on following initial change 5 years ago. Craig Mulholland, Head of Academy, led a revamp of our Academy over that period and Rangers now see some exciting young talents pushing hard towards the first team.
Our Sporting Director, Ross Wilson, today outlined the rationale to rangers.co.uk:
“This is a model I have been working on with Craig Mulholland since I arrived at the Club. Many of the principles we will work to structurally are embedded within the English EPPP structure that I am extremely familiar with. All of the staff involved in the Professional Development Phase move to a role with a new challenge and into an area that we believe really matches their skillsets. Steven Gerrard has regularly integrated our best young players into the first team group, and he will reward any young player showing the level of ability and attitude daily. It is part of our strategic model for the football department that the best talent will get opportunities when they earn them and all of us want to see young players grasp such opportunity.”
Unlike traditional models in Scotland the new framework will allow coaches in each phase to be moved regularly across the phase to maximise players and staff development, as opposed to working exclusively on one team for a long period of time. Graeme Murty will have responsibility for overseeing the coaching and development process across all academy squads.
Ross Wilson outlined the role that Murty will take and the key elements within it:
“Graeme has a talent and passion for coaching that we wanted to extend across the academy as opposed to focussed on one age group. It is important that our game model always evolves with an awareness of best practice and learnings from elsewhere as well as creating an additional layer to the programme for our very best players. This is common in English Academies and I was clear it was something I would add at Rangers. I am pleased that Graeme is the man who will take on this role as it will shape all of our young players development.”
The reorganisation also gives new roles to David McCallum, Kevin Thomson and Brian Gilmour. McCallum will now have responsibility across the U16-U18 groups as head of the Professional Development Phase with Thomson and Gilmour moving to the B Team. Peter Lovenkrands worked with the U20 (B Team) last season and the Club confirmed earlier today that Lovenkrands has now departed to seek new challenges.
Wilson is delighted that there is a perfect blend of personalities and abilities to maximise the development of ‘Gers future stars.
“David is a long standing and respected member of our staff and this opportunity has been created to allow him, in addition to his duties managing the phase, to lead the UEFA Youth League team, which I know is a challenge he is relishing. Kevin Thomson and Brian Gilmour, we feel will really complement each other’s skillsets. Kevin has vast experience as a former Rangers player and his experiences will allow him to undertake a man management role, mentoring our best talent through the difficult transition stage from the Academy to the 1st team. Brian has shown real promise in his coaching work at U16 level and in our school programme at Boclair. Craig and I have been really impressed with his work and we were clear that we would create an opportunity for Brian to challenge himself within the B Team, his ability will ensure he is successful and he has the type of growth mindset that I want to see in our academy staff.”
There will be a new face in the academy coaching ranks as Cameron Campbell will join from the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana. Cameron has had a dual role across Right to Dream and FC Norsjaelland and Wilson is looking forward to welcoming Campbell to Rangers.
“I am excited that we have managed to attract Cameron Campbell back to. Scotland. He is a young Scottish coach who we have been immensely impressed with. Michael Beale first brought him to my attention such is Michael’s passion for supporting the development of young coaches with potential. We are excited about what he will bring to us having really pushed his own boundaries and mindset as part of the successful Right to Dream Academy. It is a project that I have admired for some time. We want to have the most talented and forward-thinking Scottish coaches in our ranks, and I am delighted that Cameron will soon join our team.”
Craig McPherson and Mark Spalding have now been confirmed as permanent appointments to the Academy Coaching team. McPherson will spread his work across the Professional Phase with the U16’s and lead the Boclair Academy programme in the Youth Development Phase which will be led by Mark Spalding and the coaching team will include former Ramgers player Steven Smith. Wilson has worked closely with the McPherson and Spalding in the past:
“Craig McPherson and Mark Spalding are two coaches that I have known a long time and I am delighted that they will both continue with us on a permanent basis. Both Craig and Mark bring huge knowledge but also enthusiasm to the academy in the way they go about their business every day and that’s the sort of people we want around our young players”
Rangers Manager, Steven Gerrard is integral to the development of the young players and creating the right environment at Auchenhowie.
Gerrard commented, “Since the day myself and the coaching staff arrived, we have tried to improve every area of the club and this is the next part of that. Ross and I wanted to ensure that the B Team are as closely aligned to the First Team as possible as well as giving all of the staff involved a new freshness and challenge in their work. We want the training centre to be a vibrant and positive place for young players to learn and this helps us keep moving in the right direction.”