Rangers coach Michael Beale has backed Northern Ireland duo Kyle Lafferty and Gareth McAuley to play major roles for the Ibrox club in the remainder of the season.
Beale, in Belfast earlier this week to collect his Pro Licence certificate after completing the Irish FA course, says that defender McAuley will soon be ready for first team duty after joining the Glasgow giants in September and adds that Lafferty’s larger than life personality has offered a big lift to the Ibrox dressing room, insisting that how the striker is portrayed outside the club is different to the person he works with every day.
“Kyle brings a lovely personality to the group as it is quite a quiet changing room,” says the highly respected Beale, who is relishing working with manager Steven Gerrard at Rangers.
“The man I get in front of me every day is different to the one that is often portrayed in the media. I have met a man who is very hungry to learn. We interact a lot on the training ground and he’s someone who is very curious as to why we are doing things and how it can benefit him.
“He is at that lovely stage where he is in his early 30s and he is very intrigued by the game.
“When I think of Kyle I see his big smile and the way he is around the training ground every day. He has been a breath of fresh air and is a pleasure to work with.
“I spend a lot of time with forwards and wide players. Like all the staff, I’m trying to build a relationship on the pitch with Kyle and Alfredo Morelos, which I think could be very fruitful for the club.”
On McAuley, Beale added: “Gareth and Kyle are completely different personalities. We needed Gareth’s experience and the way he carries himself as a human being, and we needed Kyle obviously for his goalscoring but also because he is a character and larger than life who doesn’t take himself too seriously. In our industry we need people like that.
“Both guys should be applauded for their international careers and both are seen as long term inclusions in our squad.
“Gareth is doing very well. He came to us after being unattached so he was doing some fitness on his own. Everyone knows he is an outstanding professional and I’m really pleased we have Gareth on board.
“He had a slight injury from international duty so that put him back a few weeks, but now he has played a couple of reserve games and there is another one this weekend, and from there I expect Gareth to be someone who has a big impact in our team moving forward.”
Beale praised and thanked the IFA’s Coach Education Manager Nigel Best and his staff for how they operated the Pro Licence course.
The Rangers first team coach said: “I’m so pleased I did it in Northern Ireland with Nigel Best and his team. Nigel allowed me to evolve and be myself. To date I have not felt overwhelmed by any challenge that has come my way and I think that is down to the coach education I’ve had with the Irish FA.”