Rangers are hoping to build an academy system similar to Southampon’s famed set-up.
Speaking to the Daily Record, Craig Mulholland has admitted that he wants Rangers to follow in the footsteps of Premier League side Southampton, building an academy system that emulates all they stand for.
He said: “When you visit top clubs, the minute you walk through the door you can feel it - it’s the environment, respect, education. When I got offered the Academy Director’s job at Southampton 18 months ago, I spent a lot of time with them as I was looking at that and theirs is probably the best Academy in England. There’s no reason we can’t bring that to Rangers. The aim for everyone in here is to get into the top 10 or 15 of top academies.”
Considering Rangers are still on the path to rebuilding themselves in the first-team set-up, it is no surprise that the academy system has taken a back-seat in recent years.
However, Mulholland was appointed head of academy in January 2015, being promoted at the club just a few months before Mark Warburton was named manager, and it is clear both men are pulling in the same direction.
It is Mulholland’s job to produce the youngsters, whilst Warburton has shown he is willing to use young players in the first-team if they are good enough - it is just none of those young players have been from Rangers’ academy.
The Gers do not have a storied history of creating young players, with 13 full internationals created in the last 13 years, and the most highly-rated recent prospect - Lewis Macleod - is currently in Brentford’s reserve side.
This needs to be fixed if Rangers have real ambitions of possessing one of the best 15 academies in the world, and emulating Southampton’s set-up is a perfect way to start on that path.