Many football clubs across the continent can lay claim to owning one of the best academies in the beautiful game, none more so than Glasgow Rangers who have unearthed gems like Billy Gilmour and Kai Kennedy in recent times.
Developing young talents is often a touchy subject in football, with many an argument raging over whether or not clubs invest the right amount of time and effort into their academies or if they are simply guilty of ignoring homegrown graduates.
But it’s fair to say that, for the most part, the Glasgow giants have done a decent job with Steven Gerrard currently receiving plaudits for his handling of Leon King, Nathan Patterson and a number of others at Ibrox.
However, if there’s one criticism to be made, it’s that he needs to start giving academy youngster Ciaran Dickson more opportunities to prove himself on a regular basis.
Dickson was an integral part of the Gers Colts and U20s sides who earned praise for their performances in the Challenge Cup and UEFA Youth League last season and he was promoted to the senior squad towards the start of the season.
The Ibrox boss handed him his first-team debut against Falkirk in the League Cup last month, as he was brought on to replace Scott Arfield in the second half, and will almost certainly have left a good impression after he had a decent shot on target.
However, he has found his chances to play come few and far between since receiving his first senior appearance, having played just 35 minutes of first-team football this season and he hasn’t been named in any of the matchday squads across all competitions since then.
Once hailed as a “wonderful” wonderkid by Rangers academy coach Graeme Murty after his side fought back to beat Aberdeen last December, in five appearances in the UEFA Youth League, Dickson has already scored one goal so far this season, via Transfermarkt.
In a similar manner to Steven Davis, the Ibrox boss could transform the right-footed teenager into a deep-lying playmaker who can also play in attacking midfield. The potential is there, that’s for sure.
Gerrard knows a thing or two about breaking into the first team at a big club, while he will have no doubt seen several of his peers fall by the wayside during his time at Anfield, but it’s pretty obvious that he can put his faith in the youth system right now.
Instead of giving outcasts like Brandon Barker and Jordan Jones a chance, he needs to start developing these young players and helping them to establish themselves as first-team regular starters.