Clement could repeat McCausland masterclass at Rangers with exciting teen
Glasgow Rangers head into their Europa League tie on Thursday evening against Aris Limassol slightly despondent after dropping points for the first time in the Premiership under Philippe Clement.
It took a last-minute penalty by James Tavernier to rescue a point against Aberdeen and while no ground was lost to Celtic in the title chase, a win would have put the pressure on them.
The Gers did enough to win the tie, yet it wasn’t to be, and they will move on hoping to secure a win against the Cypriot side in Europe which could secure them a spot in the knockout stages.
Clement has done a fabulous job so far, especially considering the squad he inherited from Michael Beale.
The summer transfer window was meant to be the chance for Beale to rebuild and while he did bring nine new players to the club, only a couple have really hit the ground running.
Jack Butland and Danilo have been the standout performers, as both have taken their opportunities well and will be integral to any success Clement wishes to achieve this season.
While the transfer window is set to open in a few weeks, the Belgian may wish to save some money and give more young talent a chance, as there is plenty emerging from the academy.
Rangers youth talents who could emerge under Clement
Zak Lovelace is the one youngster who is garnering the most attention, and rightly so. Since joining the Ibrox side in the summer of 2022, he has already made four first-team appearances, despite only turning 17 in January, and there is no limit to what he could achieve if he continues to work hard.
In 38 games for the academy teams at the Gers, Lovelace has 19 goals and ten assists, and while he has yet to score for the senior side, it surely won’t be long before he does.
Bailey Rice is another name who has been touted as becoming a future first-team starlet and, while he has yet to make an appearance under Clement, the 17-year-old has played three games for the Gers so far.
Both Lovelace and Rice will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of another academy talent who has taken his opportunities this season with both hands – Ross McCausland.
Ross McCausland’s Rangers statistics
The 20-year-old has been at the club since 2019, joining from Northern Irish side Linfield, and he eventually made his senior bow during the 2021/22 season against Hearts.
The winger grabbed an assist during that tie, and it set him up for further progress last season as he scored nine goals and registered five assists for the B team while making another appearance for the senior side.
This season, however, McCausland has broken through into the first team and has featured on a regular basis since Beale departed.
Under Clement, the Northern Irishman has played in every single league match and his performances culminated in the player gaining his first-ever start for the Gers against Livingston.
McCausland won a penalty during the first half while giving a solid account of himself on the right wing during the tie and across his six appearances in the league, he has already created a big chance and averaged one key pass per game.
The youngster looks set to sign a new and improved long-term deal at the Glasgow side and this would be a big boost for Clement as he is clearly a fan of blooding young talent.
There could be another player similar to McCausland in the U18 side, however, as Archie Stevens might just be the next attacking talent to make his senior bow in the near future.
Archie Stevens’ youth statistics
The right-winger joined the Ibrox side in the summer of 2022 from English side AFC Wimbledon and it was seen as a shrewd signing as he was courted by a host of other clubs.
Just a few months after arriving, former manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst gave him his senior debut during a League Cup tie against Queen of the South along with the likes of Lovelace and Robbie Ure.
3 exciting youngsters at Rangers that Clement now simply has to unleash
Clement has various young talents he could unearth in the coming months
Whilst still raw and developing, his former academy manager Michael Hamilton reckons Stevens has what it takes to make it to the very top, saying:
“He’s a very attack-minded player, his stronger position is on the right, he scores goals, he creates some things out of nothing, he’s got the ability to beat two, three players at a time and creating so he’s a highly-effective player.
“He’s also more than capable of playing as a 10. Last season, we tried to develop other parts of his game, so he was playing in the middle as a 10 and on the left just to get him to face different scenarios and come up with different solutions really.”
Could he perhaps follow in the footsteps of McCausland and gain some senior minutes before the end of the season?
He is also making a splash on the international stage too, winning seven caps for the England U17 side while he already has three appearances for the U18 team and his future looks wonderful.
The former Club Brugge and AS Monaco boss has blooded young talent such as Charles De Ketelaere, Aurelien Tchouameni and Youssouf Fofana during his spells at both clubs, and it proves that there is a clear pathway from the academy to the first-team under the leadership of the 49-year-old.
McCausland is currently reaping the rewards for his recent displays as he looks set to be signing a new deal and this should only give encouragement to players who are in the academy looking up.
Stevens is a highly gifted youngster who has the potential to make an impact in the senior squad over the next few years, and he must keep developing and learning from those ahead of him in the pecking order.
If he keeps his head down, Clement will surely repay his dedication and if you are an academy player at the Light Blues right now, it must be an exciting time.News Related