Rangers football club right now is a breath of fresh air, compared to its sorry state less than twelve months previously. For the most part, the board is trusted and they do have the clubs best interests at heart and we have a manager who trusts young players, loves to develop them and has a footballing philosophy that so many fans have embraced.
A 4-3-3 system playing from the back – asking players to be comfortable on the ball through their technical abilities and decision making and short passing are very important in the modern game. It is also important to mention that he brought in several players to plug the gaps left by the players we had deemed not good enough and let’s be honest, they weren’t.
In starting to build an exciting young side he spent little over £665k, Martyn Waghorn, James Tavernier and Rob Kiernan came in from English League One side Wigan, fans' favourite Jason Holt signed from Scottish Premiership newbies Hearts in a development fee agreement, goalkeeper Wes Foderingham from English League One club Swindon and Andy Halliday joined after being released from English League One outfit Bradford City.
This was supplemented via three loans: midfielder Gedion Zelalem from Arsenal along with centre-back Dominic Ball and wide man Nathan Oduwa from Tottenham. Gaining links like these will be vital as the loan market will be a valuable place to exploit, as Mark Warburton has stated many times.
The clubs mentioned above are hardly anything too impressive minus the loans, yet some fans can't accept that it's looking as if Accrington pair Josh Windass and Matt Crooks will be joining either in the summer or in a cut price deal this month. For a support that claims “Warburton is magic” there are quite a few sceptical faces over this and I question their opinion, I really do.
Whilst Brentford manager in the summer of 2014 he paid Luton Town (an English League Two side) an undisclosed fee thought to be between £200k and £400k for the services of striker Andre Gray. He scored 20 goals that season before sealing a £6million move to Championship side Burnley - a fee which may rise to as much as £9million depending on goals scored and EPL promotion.
In regards to Harry Forrester, he was previously tipped to have a big future but has had problems since then - nevertheless he still rejected a contract with European giants Ajax to sign for Brentford for first team opportunities. Warburton seems to love signing young players who have big talent but have had tough times or just simply need a fresh start and I love that aspect of his management.
No longer will we spend millions on a 29 years old on the decline. However, we are fast becoming one of the most progressive and modern football clubs in Britain – the appointment of Frank McParland is a massive coup and while his role is head of recruitment; I think you’ll see that move to a sporting director (director of football) in the near future, something Warburton is a massive fan of.
I think now would be a good time to visit some young players that were/are based in England, and many will have heard of but maybe not realise where they started out or were signed from.
Joe Hart (Shrewsbury – League Two), Chris Smalling (Maidstone - Isthmian Premier), Dele Alli (M.K Dons – League One), Jonjo Shelvey (Charlton - League One), Jamie Vardy (Fleetwood Town - Conference), Danny Ings (Bournemouth - League Two), Leigh Griffiths (Wolves – League One).
The reason for that above is to show that there are many reasons why players either start in a team near the bottom of the pyramid, then develop and are noticed later or they drop down from big academies for first-team football: the league they operate in or club they play for is not always indicative of the quality of player they are or the potential they have to develop in to.
Many fans, as I mentioned, have adapted and embraced our new footballing philosophy. However, a small minority still moan we don’t lump it in the box, that we shouldn’t play it from the back, that going back to 4-4-2 is the way to go etc and the same goes for transfer strategy: this is the method we will now operate under so please stop having a go and embrace the new apporach in regards to finding talent and playing the beautiful game.
Matt Crooks is a natural holding midfielder, which is an area many supporters have rightly pinpointed as a problem area, and would possibly free Halliday to move further forward. Crooks was also in the famous Manchester United youth academy though moving down to get game time at Huddersfield never worked as he wanted but is seriously impressing this season with Accrington.
Josh Windass is a central midfielder, who can play in behind the striker, so it will be interesting to see where he would fit in, especially with the impressive form of Jason Holt, who will be difficult to dislodge from the side. He started his youth career with Huddersfield but didn’t do enough to earn a deal and was released in April 2012, having to resurrect his career with a move to non league side Harrogate before he signed a professional contract with Accrington in the summer of 2013. His dad Dean Windass has been a major influence in advising him to move on and take this chance.
Both young lads Josh Windass and Matt Crooks are 21 years old, have earned rave reviews for their performances this season and both were being chased by English Championship clubs. So no, they are not poor as some comments have suggested. As fans, we should have full trust in the excellent work Warburton is doing: looking to unearth diamonds in the rough and add "value" should be complimented not derided.
Discuss this article
Enjoyed this analysis? Disagree entirely? Found a spelling mistake? Whatever your opinion, it's welcome on our popular and friendly message-board.