Gregory Vignal raves about Rangers academy, admits Rafael Benitez influence

Burnley's English striker Martin Paterson (L) vies with Birmingham City's French defender Gregory Vignal (R) during the English Premier League football match between Birmingham City and...

Rangers brought in Gregory Vignal to aid their coaching in January.

Burnley's English striker Martin Paterson (L) vies with Birmingham City's French defender Gregory Vignal (R) during the English Premier League football match between Birmingham City and...

Rangers coach Gregory Vignal has told The Herald that he feels Rangers have a number of good, young players as he gets down to work at Ibrox.

The Gers have been excelling under Graeme Murty in 2018, and whilst Sunday's 3-2 defeat to Celtic in the Old Firm derby was a blow, nine wins in 11 since the turn of the year has been impressive.

Murty has stepped up into an interim manager role having previously been in charge of the Rangers academy, and his promotion led to changes in January.

A general view of Ibrox Stadium ahead of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League match between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Kevin Thomson returned to the club as a youth coach, as did former defender Gregory Vignal, with the Frenchman coming in to coach Under-14's and Under-17's.

Vignal, 36, spent the 2004-05 season on loan with Rangers having struggled for playing time with Liverpool, and made 30 appearances for the club before heading back to England with Portsmouth.

Now, Vignal is back at Ibrox, and the youth coach has been giving Rangers fans a reason to be excited about the club's academy prospects, months after losing Billy Gilmour to Chelsea.

Vignal has told The Herald that he thinks Rangers have a number of good young players who can step up in the coming years, suggesting that the academy and the first team work much closer than they did in his time at Ibrox.

A general view of Ibrox Stadium is seen ahead of the EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Scotland and Georgia at Ibrox Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Vignal also admitted that he is heavily influenced by his former Liverpool boss and current Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez, revealing that his target is to one day become a manager – preferably of Rangers.

“I was 19 when I went to Liverpool from Montpellier. I worked with Gerard Houllier, Phil Thompson and Sammy Lee and I learned a lot from them,” said Vignal. “When Rafa Benitez came in for pre-season I was very impressed by the way he used to manage things. His training was always very good. I learned a lot from some top managers and I think that can help me in my own coaching career. It is my target to be a manager one day. I am just starting my career as a coach and I will take it step by step. Hopefully it will happen. It may take time but I want to do it. I started my badges in 2008. I have my Uefa license and my target is pro licence. Hopefully one day you will see me on the bench at Rangers helping the team win as a coach.”

“When I used to play here I didn’t have a lot of interaction with the academy. But you see now that the academy and the first-team work closer together. We have had a few young boys round training with the first team and that is great for their development. The young players see some of their team-mates getting to work with the first-team squad and it gives everyone a lift. They can see they can get there as well. We have a lot of good young players but they have to keep working hard every day. It is good the way the academy is right now and hopefully we can see a few young boys making into the first team next season,” he added.

A general view of Ibrox Stadium is seen ahead of the EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Scotland and Georgia at Ibrox Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.

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