KEVIN KYLE knew Jamie Walker was destined for the top of the game when he saw him take his first steps towards stardom at Hearts.

Now he reckons a move to Rangers could be the next stride forward on the winger’s journey as he prepares to bring the curtain down on his Tynecastle career.

Walker emerged as one of the brightest young talents in the country during Kyle’s two-year stint in Gorgie before he made his own switch to Ibrox to join Ally McCoist’s side.

Read more: Move from Hearts to Rangers will be too good turn down for Jamie Walker, says Kevin Kyle

Five years on, Hearts look like they are facing a losing battle in their bid to hold onto their key man beyond the end of the current campaign.

Walker has turned down a lucrative offer to extend his Jambos contract and Kyle knows Rangers will be getting a top talent if they can strike a deal this summer.

He told SportTimes: “Jamie was a younger player trying to break into the first team when I was at Hearts and he was one of the hot prospects at the club, along with Jason Holt.

“I remember an agent at the time asking me if there were any young players I would recommend and Jamie was one of them.

“Jason has gone on to Rangers and done well while Jamie has stayed at Hearts and worked away.

“He has become one of the best players in the team and that shows when Hearts are trying so hard to hold onto him, although I think that is looking fruitless.

Read more: Move from Hearts to Rangers will be too good turn down for Jamie Walker, says Kevin Kyle

“He has great natural ability. He definitely has all the ability to become a top player.

“He gets goals, he gets assists and he is a really good all round midfielder. He has done well for Hearts and a club like Rangers coming in for him is a big step.

“Rangers will certainly be acquiring a very good Scottish footballer who has got potential to go as far as he wants to go. Rangers will be hoping to develop that talent and take him on and he can become a top player.”

Rangers have been frustrated in their efforts to sign Walker so far this summer as Hearts have stood firm in their bid to recoup a £1million fee for their prized asset.

The capture of the 24-year-old would be another boost for boss Pedro Caixinha following the arrival of nine signings ahead of the new Premiership campaign.

And former Ibrox forward Kyle reckons it would be a shrewd bit of business to get Walker on board if a deal can be done.

He said: “Rangers have signed some good players, like Graham Dorrans, and they have got him at a good age at 30.

Read more: Move from Hearts to Rangers will be too good turn down for Jamie Walker, says Kevin Kyle

“He has got some good years ahead of him and someone like Jamie could learn a lot from him and his experience.

“Jamie, with the age he is at, is a long-term signing and investment and that is the kind of players that Rangers should be looking at, a young, hungry, Scottish talent that the club and coaching staff can nurture and bring out the best in. Jamie will benefit from that and so will Rangers.”

Walker has become an integral part of the Hearts attack in recent years as he progressed through the Maroon ranks and into the limelight in the top flight.

The forward has been capped at several youth levels for Scotland and Kyle reckons a move to Ibrox could lead to Hampden recognition for Walker.

Kyle said: “He will be hoping to just keep playing well every week like he has been doing and let other people talk about him but he will be hoping that the call will come.

“I remember it myself when I was playing for the Under-19s and scoring goals and you think ‘when are the 21s going to call me?’

“Eventually the call does come if you keep doing the right things and people talk about you in the right way then you get to a point where they can’t avoid you forever.

“Jamie might be thinking if he can make the move to Rangers and take that next step then it might get him that opportunity.

“Trying to get into the Scotland squad, with the amount of midfielders we have got at the moment, it is difficult.

“But there is no reason why Jamie can’t keep doing what he is doing and push on and get the nod. He will be as hungry as anyone to try and make that happen.”