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England holds a wealth of talent, says Warburton

By Andy Newport

Published 09/01/2016

Busy January: Mark Warburton is freshening up his Gers squad
Busy January: Mark Warburton is freshening up his Gers squad

Rangers boss Mark Warburton insists he will continue to scour the depths of the English league for fresh talent.

The former Brentford manager has put his knowledge of the Football League to good use in recent days after making Doncaster winger Harry Forrester his first January capture.

Accrington pair Josh Windass and Matt Crooks will also report for duty in the summer after signing pre-contracts.

But those deals have not excited everyone, with some Gers fans unimpressed with their arrivals from Sky Bet Leagues One and Two.

Warburton, though, insists there are gems to be found south of the border and revealed he came close to landing Leicester's record-breaking frontman Jamie Vardy from Fleetwood while he was the Bees' Director of Football.

He also picked out Andre Gray for special mention after plucking the striker from Luton for £500,000 before he was later sold to Burnley in a £9million deal last summer.

Ahead of tomorrow's William Hill Scottish Cup clash with Cowdenbeath at Ibrox, Warburton responded to his critics. He said: "My answer to that would be to ask: 'How much would Andre Gray cost right now?'

"He came from Luton in the Conference to Brentford in the Championship for £500,000. That was a huge jump but he dealt with it and developed. I imagine he's at least £12million.

"Jamie Vardy was offered to me when he was at Fleetwood but we couldn't afford him."

"(Identifying these players) is what we get paid for. That's why I hire experts like (chief scout) Frank McParland. Our job is to spot players who we think can develop quickly and move on."

Gers' move for Windass and Crooks upset Stanley owner Andy Holt. He criticised Warburton for failing to call manager John Coleman before making their swoop. He also hit out at the Fifa rules which allow Scottish clubs to pay a smaller compensation fee for out-of-contract players than clubs in England.

But Warburton tried to play down the row, saying: "I think the frustration is more with the system. Rangers have done everything by the process."

Warburton admits he is still looking for "one or two" more experienced players but refused to speculate on the club's chances of landing Brentford's holding midfielder Toumani Diagouraga after reports Gers had made an unsuccessful bid for the 28-year-old.

Belfast Telegraph

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