Little urges young guns to stay put

Rangers star urges tells team-mates that Ibrox offers the best career path
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Andrew Little has urged fellow Rangers starlets John Fleck and Danny Wilson to commit themselves to the club. Northern Ireland international Little played in the same youth teams as fellow forward Fleck and defender Wilson, who have been offered new contracts by the Scottish champions.

Fleck has resumed negotiations following a misunderstanding with his agent. It was recently reported both Fleck and Wilson had rejected new deals, with manager Walter Smith expressing concerns that the pair, both 18, were putting the prospect of lucrative moves to England before their careers. However, the Rangers manager has revealed Fleck was unaware negotiations were even taking place on his behalf and instructed his representative to resume talks.

Little, who netted a last-gasp equaliser in Saturday's SPL game with Hearts, said: "We want as many of the young boys to stay at Rangers as possible and make successes of themselves here. We have all come through the various youth stages and have won trophies playing in teams at that level. The more of us that push on into the first team the better. It would be brilliant to think we can go on to play at the highest level with the guys we've been making friends with over the last few years.

"That's probably not going to happen but, for those of us who do get to push on, it's a really big incentive to do well. In Danny and John's case, there's no denying how desperate I am to see them stay. I know the rest of the players and the fans are the same. I hope they remain and I'm sure they will."

Responding to concerns that Fleck and Wilson would be keen on moving to England, Little added: "There are temptations out there. English football is a big attraction and the problems in the Scottish game have been well documented.

"People have to respect that, whatever the two of them decide to do, it's their choice where they end up playing football. But I definitely see something in them that tells me they want to be with Rangers."

Little, 20, feels moving down south could hinder Fleck and Wilson's development. "If you move down to England, you are unlikely to be moving to a team that's going to be playing European football," he said. "At this stage, and with the way the club is at the moment, this is a great place for players of my age to be if they want to further their careers."

Across the city, the new Celtic defender Thomas Rogne hopes his ability to pass the ball out from the back can help him force his way into Tony Mowbray's plans. The 19-year-old Norwegian was a first-team player at Stabaek for a year and hopes to make Mowbray's starting XI soon after appearing in a closed-doors friendly win over Blackburn last week.

Rogne's prospects could be enhanced by the loan departure of the club captain, Stephen McManus, as the Middlesbrough manager, Gordon Strachan, seeks to add another of his ex-Celtic players to the ranks.

Rogne said: "I'm a central defender and that's my priority at all times. I try to defend my own goal first and foremost. However, I also try to be a defender who plays from the back. I try to make passes and build the play from the defence. That's what the manager likes from his central defenders and, hopefully, I can get better in that respect."

The teenager comes with European experience, which he enjoyed despite suffering a 7-1 aggregate defeat by Valencia. We had some good games in Europe with Stabaek," Rogne said. "We played against Valencia last summer and it was a fantastic experience. I was up against [David] Villa and [David] Silva and they are world-class.

"So far they are the best I have played against, but I hope to get a lot more European experience with Celtic in the coming years. I know Celtic have a proud history in European football. In the last few years, the club has done well on the Champions League stage."

Rogne added: "It feels really good to be at Celtic. It's a massive club with great facilities, good coaches, top- quality players and friendly people. I heard Celtic were interested in me a little while ago and I was really excited about moving to the club. It's a good move, a big move, but I think Celtic is the right club. It's a higher level than Norway and more is expected of me."

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