STEVEN GERRARD said a few weeks ago that it wasn’t important for the Rangers youth teams to win trophies because it was the players that come through that really matter.

I understand where he is coming from and he is right. But that wasn’t him downplaying the success that the kids have had this season.

Rangers have picked up a few medals at different age groups this term and now the challenge for those players is to move up the levels again and be better next season.

You need to win leagues and cups at Rangers, so getting that mentality at a young age can only be an advantage for the next generation as they try to reach the first team.

It is a great experience to win something, no matter what age you are. And that feeling, and the attention and the pictures and memories, will only stand them in good stead and spur them on to be a better player.

Winning some silverware is one thing, but it is about where you go from there. Can you step up to the mark and be involved in the first team over the next year or 18 months? Is this your time?

The manager watches the youth teams whenever he can and he and his staff will be fully up to speed on who is doing well, who is progressing and who deserves their chance with the first team squad.

There are some really talented and exciting youngsters in the youth squads and hopefully there are a few that can move up again and go on to be really important and successful players for Rangers.

There is great potential within the Academy and that is a credit to Craig Mulholland and all of the coaches and staff he has at the Hummel Training Centre.

Supporters always love to see players coming through the ranks and they will be pleased to see their investment in the Rangers Youth Development Company paying off as the kids progress and improve.

They are trying to play the same way as the first team and that approach is paying off their age groups. But you really get the benefit when you go round and train with Steven’s squad.

They are getting great experience on a daily basis. They are training with the first team so when they get their chance to play they are familiar and comfortable with that setup.

It was great to see Dapo Mebude make his debut at Kilmarnock last weekend and there are players like Josh McPake and Cameron Palmer, and a right few more as well, that have got huge promise.

Now, it is up to them. They are not wee boys anymore and the club do a lot of work with the players to make sure they are physically prepared as well as ready technically and tactically to make that step into the first team.

When I played at 16, I had the body of a man. I was physically ready to play first team football, as was Wayne Rooney when he made his debut for Everton.

When the players come back after the summer, they have to be focused and give it their all. They have to be thinking ‘can I get in the first team? Can I be there on a regular basis?’

I think there are several players that are good enough to train. Whether they are good enough to play will be down to the manager and he will decide that when he sees them in action.

It is going to be a big, big season for Rangers and the manager might not want to gamble on too many youngsters over the next 12 months.

But if you are a kid that goes in and does the job, you can earn that chance. If you get it, you have to take it and prove what you are all about.

It is massive for these kids to be coached by someone like Steven Gerrard and it is up to them to show they are good enough and that they can be Rangers players next season.