He knows I believe in him for the future, so it's about him and his family to make the right choice and I think the right choice is staying here.

Philippe Clement's body language spoke as loudly as his words when asked recently about the likelihood of youngster Ross McCausland signing a new Rangers contract. While the Belgian was measured about the prospects of the Northern Ireland international remaining in Govan beyond the summer, he made it crystal clear the youngster would be valued in his regime should he sign on the dotted line.

It wasn't always thus for McCausland. It's clear Rangers have gotten into this situation because the 20-year-old wasn't seen as a future first-team player under the old regime. McCausland didn't make a single squad this season prior to Micheal Beale's departure. It follows that clubs don't tend to let their prize young talents run down their deals into the final months given it allows them to become available for a paltry development fee, in this case just £350,000.

Brentford, Roma and Atalanta have been mooted as taking an interest, looking for an elusive transfer bargain. If indeed these links have some weight, McCausland will have some thinking to do. While a died-in-the-wool fan of the club, he is also a professional with a respected agent behind him whose job is to assess the big picture and dismiss the romance of remaining with his boyhood heroes. Simply put, he will be asking which available opportunity provides the greatest avenue to develop this young lad to the maximum of his potential.

It's easy to say Rangers but in truth, the club have struggled to show a solid pathway to the first team for a long time. While people at the top of the club have long recognised the route from the academy to the first team isn't well signposted enough, nobody seems to have found a solution. Clement wasn't exactly falling over himself with praise when he was asked about the academy recently, pointing out that McCausland is the only oven-ready footballer in that part of the training centre. 

Perhaps the most important thing for the boys striving to make their way in the professional game is to have someone to look up to. Perhaps it was no accident that the rise of Barry Ferguson from skinny kid to midfield general and captain in the early part of the century led to the emergence of a generation of successful kids like Charlie Adam, Allan McGregor, Chris Burke and Alan Hutton. It's a notion Clement was keen to suggest, saying: "It's important to have symbols out of the academy like Ross to show the way to the first team and that it's possible. It's really important to have these types of players and it's really important from our side to get a bridge between the first team and the academy and I'm busy on that.

"Also to implement how we are working on the first team in the academy also to make them top professionals. Also to make sure the step is not too big because at most teams it's too big because there are no steps in between and we need to make these smaller."

McCausland has certainly benefitted from one of these steps with his time in the Lowland League playing for Rangers B. While there are varying opinions about how valuable the experience was and the Ibrox club have now pulled out of Scottish football's fifth tier, the chance to face men scrapping for a win bonus was always going to provide at the very least, an interesting test.

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Perhaps it's this aspect of his development that has allowed the right-sided midfielder to make such an early impression. Six substitute appearances highlighted his energy and perseverance, making an impact in almost every showing before finally getting a deserved start against Livingston before the international break.  He subsequently impressed, winning a penalty and had what looked like a perfectly good goal chopped off for what was a minor infringement in another part of the penalty box.

It certainly looks like Rangers have a talent on their hands, an answer to the right flank problem that has stalked every manager since Daniel Candeias left for Turkey several years ago. It's early days of course, and forging a professional career is often less about talent than mental strength, consistency and the diligence to put physical conditioning above the simple pleasures that us mere mortals take for granted. There will be no sugary tea or salty snacks for those who want to give themselves the best chance of an eventual ticket to the Premier League promised land.

And make no mistake, Rangers fan or not, that's where every youngster wants to end up in 2023. It's where the best players, the grandeur and, of course, the serious money is.

McCausland has a big decision to make. Clement seems to have offered him a tangible opportunity to become a major part of his rebuilt Rangers. If so, you'd imagine that will be an offer that's difficult to turn down. But there's no doubt that game time will be a key part of the decision-making process. While we consider 20 young in this country, you're generally struggling to be an elite player if you've not had significant match experience at this age. He will know he needs games.

He will also have seen his new manager up close and will have gauged how credible his words are. To this observer, he seems a man disinclined to flannel. If he says he wants you as part of his squad, you'd take his word at face value he is serious. And that will surely be core to what the player and his advisors have to ponder. Realistically, Rangers have not put up a credible long-term case as a club that promotes well from the academy but here is a man who seems intent on making the case that McCausland can make the leap.

Back when another talent, Billy Gilmour was considering his future with Chelsea hovering, Pedro Caixinha made a personal intervention to plead for the generational kid to remain and build his career in Glasgow. Gilmour may have looked at the manager and wondered if he'd remain long enough to deliver on his promises.  The Portuguese wasn't successful in his quest and Gilmour ended up on the King's Road. You wonder if this time, with Clement making the case, the outcome may well be different.