GREGORY Vignal enjoyed a long career at the top level in England, Scotland, Spain, Germany and France after being given a good grounding in the game by managerial greats Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez when he was starting out.

Now the former left back intends to use the knowledge he gleaned from them to help youngsters at Rangers force their way into the first team at Ibrox – and further his bid to become a head coach at the same time.

Vignal returned to the club that he won a Premiership and League Cup double at during the 2004/05 campaign – the only season that he spent as a player in this country - to work as a youth coach towards the end of last year.

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The former Liverpool, Espanyol, Portsmouth, Lens, Kaiserslautern and Southampton man hopes to help the most promising kids coming through at Auchenhowie follow the likes of David Bates and Ross McCrorie into Graeme Murty’s side in the near future.

The 36-year-old has been impressed at how Murty has fared since stepping up from being development coach and revealed that his ultimate ambition is to work in the dugout at senior level himself.

“I had a meeting with Mark Allen (Rangers director of football) around October or November,” said Vignal. “We decided just to start and work with the academy as a coach. I will be here until June and then we will see what happens. I am doing the under-14s and sometimes the under-17s as well.

“I was 19 when I went to Liverpool from Montpellier. I worked with Gerard Houllier, Phil Thompson and Sammy Lee and I learned a lot from them.

“When Rafa Benitez came in for pre-season I was very impressed by the way he used to manage things. His training was always very good. I learned a lot from some top managers and I think that can help me in my own coaching career.

“It is my target to be a manager one day. I am just starting my career as a coach and I will take it step by step. Hopefully it will happen. It may take time but I want to do it.

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“I started my badges in 2008. I have my Uefa license and my target is pro licence. Hopefully one day you will see me on the bench at Rangers helping the team win as a coach.”

Vignal came through the renowned French youth system - he represented his country at both under-20 and under-21 level – and is hoping he can pass on some of the ideas he benefitted from as a teenager.

But he believes the set-up that he has encountered at Auchenhowie – where the age-group squads work closely with the first team – will enable more kids to make the breakthrough.

“The way we work in France is different to the way it works in Scotland,” he said. “The French academy is very good, but so are the Scottish ones. They have introduced the Project Brave scheme now as well. That could be good for the whole of Scottish football.

“I am hoping to bring some new ideas that I have learned in France with me here and help some of the younger boys develop. I can’t tell you what they are, it is a secret, I will keep them for just the people at the club.

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“When I used to play here I didn’t have a lot of interaction with the academy. But you see now that the academy and the first-team work closer together. We have had a few young boys round training with the first team and that is great for their development.

“The young players see some of their team-mates getting to work with the first-team squad and it gives everyone a lift. They can see they can get there as well.

“We have a lot of good young players but they have to keep working hard every day. It is good the way the academy is right now and hopefully we can see a few young boys making into the first team next season.”

Gregory Vignal was speaking as he promoted the Rangers Youth Development Company and their £8k in 2018 Lotto campaign.

Over £10 million in prizes has already been won in recent years and it costs just £1 to play. Full details on RYDC and their portfolio of products can be found at