Rangers boss urges 15-year-old Gilmour to resist lure of Europe's elite

Rangers boss Mark Warburton
Rangers boss Mark Warburton

Mark Warburton has told Rangers wonderkid Billy Gilmour that Ibrox is the place to be if he wants to realise his footballing dreams.

The 15-year-old playmaker has been linked with a move to Chelsea, with reports claiming he was shown round the London club's training ground last week.

A string of other major European clubs, including Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Barcelona, have also been keeping tabs on the talented youngster after his staring role for Scotland Under-16s during last month's Victory Shield.

They could sign the schoolboy, who made his debut for Gers' under-20s side earlier this month, for as little as £100,000 when he turns 16 in June.

But Light Blues boss Warburton has not given up hope of convincing the teenager to stay put.

The Englishman said: "Billy Gilmour is a Rangers player and I hope very much that he sees a pathway here and works his way through to our first team. Whatever happens from there happens.

"It's fully understandable that clubs will be interested. He's a very talented player and every Premier League club will have scouts watching. They are aware of all the best players in every country round the world.

"It's difficult for clubs like Rangers to keep hold of their best youngsters when you consider the financial disparity that exists.

"All you can do as a club is be honest. Are we going to outbid certain clubs? No, it's not going to happen.

"But can we offer them a pathway in a superb environment and a fantastic following? Yes we can.

"It may be for many of these young players - and not just Billy - that they are best served by staying at their home club, developing into the first team and once you have 40-50 appearances under your belt, then you move.

"Liam Burt - who came on against Hearts at the weekend - shows that if you do well, you will get your chance.

"I saw Billy play for our under-20s last weekend. As a 15-year-old up against four or five Dundee first-teamers, he was excellent. But he's 15 and he needs to be looked after properly and taken through his development stages. Hopefully we can realise that here at Rangers in out first team."

Gilmour is just beginning his career, but the club's second oldest player Kenny Miller is still to find out if his third Ibrox stint will come to an end next summer.

The veteran frontman, who turns 37 on December 23, is yet to be offered fresh terms, with his current contract expiring at the end of the season.

But Warburton hinted he would be happy to keep hold of the former Scotland striker, saying: "You know what I think about Kenny Miller. You know what I think about all the players in the squad.

"Kenny has been outstanding for us this season and we will maintain good dialogue with him and the powers that be, and we'll see where that takes us.

"Can he do a job for us next season? You're watching what I'm watching. Kenny has been first class in more games than not. He contributes in every game, he's a very clever footballer. He trains well every day and is a role model for the younger players."