Belfast Telegraph

Rangers to face Manchester United in SuperCupNI opener as Northern Ireland trio set to star


On show: Chris McKee will play for Gers against United
On show: Chris McKee will play for Gers against United

By Robert Jones

Two of Northern Ireland’s most promising young players are hoping to line out in a Rangers side against Manchester United  in a curtain-raiser to the STATSports SuperCupNI international youth tournament at Coleraine next month.

Chris McKee and Kyle McClelland are both Northern Ireland Under-17 internationals and already catching the eye of senior Gers boss Steven Gerrard.

The U21 game, confirmed for Coleraine Showgrounds on Saturday, July 27 (5.30pm), could see United’s Glengormley teenager Ethan Galbraith involved.

Striker McKee joined the Ibrox club after six years with Linfield. McClelland, a defender, skippered Rangers to glory in the Alkass Cup in Qatar in February.

Rangers have been involved with the STATSports SuperCupNI over recent years and young McClelland has played for them, while McKee turned out for County Antrim.

McKee, who scored a hat-trick in Rangers’ Alkass Cup quarter-final, had been interesting several clubs including Nottingham Forest, but was in no doubt that Ibrox was the right destination for him.

Galbraith has also enjoyed a meteoric rise since joining Manchester United two years ago.

He signed a three-year deal with a one-year scholarship followed by a two-year pro contract.

His involvement with the tournament goes back to his early teenage years when he too represented County Antrim.

He was under the guiding influence of Fermanagh-born Kieran McKenna, who has since moved up to the first-team coaching staff.

Last year, United lost out to Celtic in the challenge game, while United and Rangers actually met in the Junior tournament at Ballymena where the Red Devils won 1-0.

In 2017, United beat a Northern Ireland side in an U18 challenge match at Coleraine.

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