There will always be a debate over the best approach to developing Rangers academy players, whether that means using the loan market and sending youngsters out to get valuable playing time or staying on. in Auchenhowie and to train with top coaches in the best facilities with international players. day after day.
History suggests that being on loan does not prepare a player for Ranger life, however, impressing on loan will at least prove to the manager that you have a good attitude and determination to succeed, which Lewis Mayo did. with flying colors this season.
Not only did he impress Partick Thistle fans, but he was also nominated by his peers in the Scotland PFA Championship Team of the Yearwith 17 clean sheets in 34 games he has developed into a solid and reliable centre-half who is comfortable with the ball at his feet, as shown in his occasional games as a defensive midfielder.
So as a current Scotland Under-21 international and unable to do much more on loan does that mean he will be rewarded with a place in Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s first team next season? ?
This is where it gets difficult.
Mayo’s form comes from playing regularly for the past two seasons but if he were to make our squad he would only be used as a cover, however, if I had a choice between him or Jack Simpson, I’m picking the one who is from the country and who has proven he can handle the physical aspects of Scottish football.
In his absence, chances are Leon King skipped the queue, every minute he played he looked better and better, Mayo, on the other hand, has to start from scratch. Throughout our history we’ve always had players like Scott Wilson, Bob Malcom and – dare I say it – Steven Pressley, none of them were world beaters but were capable defenders and Mayo comes into this category.
Seen from another angle, if Mayo doesn’t have a chance next season, what’s the point of sending academy players on loan if not to showcase them?