This week’s instalment features three players who have graduated from the youth academy at Auchenhowie (and it’s predecessor). Now this isn’t to say they are the best three players or that they went on to have the best careers but they are three of my favourite players, see rule one – my ball, my game.
There are, as always, notable players that could’ve made the list and went on to do very well for themselves after they left the club.
Charlie Adam, although not everyone’s cup of tea has had a very successful career at the very top of the English game being a consistent performer in the Premier League for a good few years since he gained promotion with Blackpool and his form earned him a move to Liverpool. He would admit it himself that he isn’t the quickest or most mobile but he has a wand/hammer of a left foot scoring several memorable goals including one from 60-odd yards against Chelsea, lobbing 7ft 10 inch giant Thibaut Courtois in the process.
Alan Hutton is another who not only did well for Rangers in the early stages of his career but then enjoyed several years as a marauding full back for Spurs and Aston Villa more notably. His partnership and link up play with Gareth Bale going a long way in their spectacular Champions League run in 2010/11. He was a key component of Rangers’ 2007/08 European adventure before he left to join Spurs for £9m in the January transfer window.
So, who have I chosen?
He has to be included really doesn’t he? We haven’t had a player who dominated domestic football in thesame way since he left, I don’t care what anyone says. On a bad day, he would control the tempo and direct those about him. At his best, he would be creating or scoring goahls AND controlling the tempog of the game. Some modern midfielders can sit and take the ball off the defence then distribute it forwards, others can link the midfield and attack. Fergie could do both.
In his pomp, in full chest puffed out mode he was a peacock and we “let him fly”, oh to have the likes of him again!
Not only could he dive to the left and dive to the right, he could also do plenty other things…The man for the big occasion. He had a decent defence in front of him but when it did get broken there wasn’t often that he let the side down. We wouldn’t have made it passed Werder Bremen in 2008 for a start, he was phenomenal.
What I like best about McGregor is that he waited for his chance, he had successful loan periods, Managers brought in more experienced keepers and yet he wouldn’t leave or throw his toys out the pram. When he did get his chance, he took it with both hands and didn’t look back. What a joy it is to have him back, he certainly won’t be accepting second (or third) best that’s for sure.
This may seem like a strange one but for me, he is the one that got away. When you look at his form after he left Rangers we really missed a trick. He consistently scored goals and created chances for teams in Scotland and in England’s Championship, between him and Jordan Rhodes they dominated the scoring charts.
He could play upfront on his own, out wide or behind the striker. He had pace, a great touch, could beat a man and had a decent set piece. We seem to have a lot of potential in defence and midfield in the current youth academy, we could do with the emergence of another McCormack as they would be valued and appreciated considerably more than he was at the time.
Well that’s my three, different types of players and had varying degrees of success once they left the club but there is no argument if they all came through the academy today they would be guaranteed starters. When the budget becomes reduced you don’t half appreciate what you had when you take a quick look back, you also realise how much you used to take for granted any decent young player that did come through.
I’ve got a nagging feeling I’ve left a few decent players out, if you can think of any remind me at @abouttherangers.