Glasgow Rangers have brought through some impressive young talents through their academy set-up over the years and continue to do so.
Charlie McCann started for the Light Blues in central midfield against Dundee United at the weekend as he made his full debut for the club in the Premiership, becoming the latest graduate to make the breakthrough into the first-team – following on from Alex Lowry last term.
Allan McGregor and Steven Naismith are just a couple of the names that stand out when you look at other young players who came through Rangers’ academy, whilst Nathan Patterson is currently playing for Everton in the Premier League.
One academy graduate the club had a howler with, however, was central midfielder Kenny McLean as he has gone on to forge an impressive career since leaving the Gers as a youngster.
Rangers opted to release the young talent, who was in the U17 team, in 2008 and he ended up making his way in the professional game via St Mirren.
Rangers made a mistake as the now-Canaries midfielder could have been their next Ferguson had they blooded him through to their first-team instead of allowing him to leave for absolutely nothing.
The 44-year-old Light Blues icon played 283 competitive games for the club in all competitions throughout his career and was capped 46 times by Scotland at international level. He scored 42 goals and provided 27 assists during his time at Ibrox as he bossed the midfield and proved that he had the quality to make an impact in the final third.
McLean, like Ferguson, is a central midfielder who can be a difference-maker on the ball and has won 25 caps for Scotland by the age of 30.
Former St Mirren boss Danny Lennon previously hailed him, saying: “Kenny has got a big, bright future in the game. His quality is always there to see.
“He’s a fit lad, he’s got a great engine and a great left foot that could open a tin of beans. He’s got a lot of developing still to do but, for me, he can go the full distance.”
Ex-Norwich head coach Daniel Farke described the Scot as “irreplaceable” for the Canaries in the Premier League because of his well-rounded set of attributes in midfield.
He has scored ten goals and provided 16 assists in 149 games for the Yellows to date, after managing 49 goals and 26 assists with his two previous clubs combined, and this shows that he has the ability to produce at the top end of the pitch.
Therefore, the gem – who has been compared to him – could have been Rangers’ next Ferguson had they unearthed his talent on their own. Instead, they have watched him go on to play in the Premier League and for Scotland after receiving £0 for his services back in 2008, which is precisely why they made a blunder by allowing him to leave.