Speaking to Football Insider, Alan Hutton has raved about Rangers starlet Stephen Kelly.
The 20-year-old spent the campaign on loan at Ayr United, and enjoyed a very impressive year, being named the club’s young player of the season.
Now, Hutton has revealed that he has high hopes for the youngster, and that Rangers’ reserve team coach, Peter Lovenkrands, has spoken highly about him.
He said: “You always get excited about the young players, I’ve heard a few things about him from Peter and that as one of the exciting players coming through. This is ideal in my opinion – boys going out and playing 30, 35 games a season, coming back battle-hardened, that’s what they need. I’ve been there before.
“See when you’re going into the first-team for the first time, it’s like a shock to the system, it’s difficult. If you’ve gone out for seasons and played and you know what to expect, it makes you feel so much better.
“For the youngsters, it’s a great move. Of course he’s one for the future – to go out on loan in a tough league and get young player of the year, it speaks volumes. I’m sure Rangers will be watching him very closely.”
After such a successful loan spell, the big temptation for Steven Gerrard and co will be whether to throw Kelly into the deep end for next season at Ibrox.
What could be worth their while in the long-run however, is actually sending Kelly out on loan again for another full year, and seeing him continue to get first-team football at a high level.
The season just gone by saw the 20-year-old feature 36 times across all competitions, scoring six goals and providing a further four assists. Playing week-in and week-out would be far more beneficial for a young player like Kelly, than simply sitting on the bench and getting some minutes here and there.
A massive decision will have to be made this summer on his short-term future.