Walters has some words of advice for sought-after Gary

THE returning hero shakes his head in wonder.

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Mark Walters left Rangers over 20 years ago
Mark Walters left Rangers over 20 years ago

Mark Walters is reflecting on the changes in Scotland since he left Rangers more than 20 years ago.

"People don't realise how big the Old Firm are. I watched Rangers play a Third Division game in front of 50,000 fans,'' said the winger who left the club for Liverpool in 1991.

"People couldn't believe that down south. If Aston Villa were relegated to the fourth tier of English football you would probably get 50 fans,'' said the player who starred for the Midlands club before moving to Rangers in 1987.

"It's difficult for people in England to comprehend how big the clubs are and how much pressure there is.''

Walters won his only cap for England when officially still a Rangers player but he moved to the Anfield club after taking his first cap against New Zealand in Auckland.

"Playing in Scotland was a problem for me,'' said Walters. "I may have got a call-up a little bit earlier possibly if it wasn't for that.

"We had great players at Rangers at the time and I didn't think it was a backward step, but it didn't help my England chances.''

Walters, who played more than 100 times for Rangers, said of the international snub: "It was disheartening. You question whether you need to change club to help your international career.

"It's every schoolboy's dream to play for your country and you do everything you can to increase your chance of doing that. Playing in England would have helped my case and it might help Hooper.''

The Celtic striker has been linked with an international call-up and has also been the target of bids from Norwich City.

"He's been playing in the Champions League and at a good level all season, so it shouldn't be a problem for him.''

He cautioned his fellow countryman about a switch to the Canaries.

"I've played against Norwich and Celtic and I know which club I'd rather play for,'' said Walters.

"If he has any sense he'd stay at Celtic as they are the bigger club. He'll win more titles at Celtic, but it depends how long he can put up with not achieving other ambitions.

"Norwich are in a better league, but Celtic is the better club.''

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