Glasgow Rangers manager Steven Gerrard must give Kai Kennedy the time to shine at Ibrox as he has impressed John Robertson ever since he arrived at Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Speaking to The Press and Journal, the ICT manager admits he is pleased with Kennedy’s progress at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. Robertson said:
“I’ll show my age – I think he goes back to the tanner ball player we know in Scotland, such as Jimmy Johnstone, Willie Johnstone and Davie Cooper. He beats people for fun and gets out of tight situations – he’s a crowd-pleaser.”
“Even in training when we see him getting the ball, he excites us. He goes past players and we think he’s going to lose it, then the next minute he wriggles away and he has created something,” he added.
“Kai at times looks like a wee ragamuffin as he just bounces about, but he goes past people and excites people. That’s the type of player we wanted to come.”
Reports in recent times claimed that Kennedy could sign a new long-term contract after fresh talks with his boyhood club, having failed to reach an agreement over an extension in the summer, amid interest from clubs across the continent.
In a dramatic turn of events, Rangers chiefs have reopened talks with his representatives, and if the rumours turn out to be true, are expected to rebuff any attempts to sign him in the winter transfer window, despite his first-team chances being few and far between under Gerrard so far.
The Ibrox boss has afforded the teenager just 9 minutes of first-team action in total for the Gers with a brief cameo from the bench in the Scottish Cup in the 2-0 win over Stanraer last season, whilst he joined Inverness on loan last month in a deal which will end in January.
In only six appearances, the 18-year-old dynamo has already registered his first assist for Caley Thistle in all competitions so far this season.
Kennedy is believed to be relaxed about his situation as he is confident he can regain Gerrard’s trust, providing he impresses during his time on loan at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.
If the backroom staff at the Govan stadium share the same view, surely Gerrard must realise that he has to start giving Kennedy chances to show what he can do in the senior side, rather than letting the talented teen slip through his fingers. He will want to avoid making the same mistake his predecessor Pedro Caixinha made with Billy Gilmour, that’s for sure.
The Liverpool legend has spoken admirably about his potential in the past, once describing him as a “fabulous little player” after impressing in training alongside the rest of the first team squad. He said: “He earned the right to be the 19th man. His training performances and his cameo against Leicester – I was thinking about putting him in the 18. All of our lads at the academy should take note of what he’s done this week. I think he’s been outstanding.”
“He’s been the most consistent and he’s a fabulous little player. It wasn’t just a token gesture because he’s a kid.
“It’s also to send a message to some of the players who are outside of the 18 that Kai was next from what I seen the majority of this week in training. He deserved to be out there.”
Despite these comments, Kennedy has still found his chances hard to come by at his boyhood club, which is why he was allowed to join the Championship side on loan until January. If the Gers reject bids for the winger, then Gerrard will simply have to start giving the highly-rated teenager more game time than he has currently been offered so far.