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JOHN FLECK was given Ian Durrant's old No.10 shirt at Rangers last season - but failed to live up to the tag of talented Ibrox playmaker.

Durrant, now the Light Blues' first-team coach, is adamant though the 19-year-old WILL fulfil the potential he showed as a Murray Park kid and play a major part in Ally McCoist's new-look team.

Fleck burst on to the first-team scene as a 16-year-old under Walter Smith but injuries and loss of form have curtailed his progress and Durrant accepts he may have had too much, too soon.

However, the Ibrox legend insists the midfielder is now ready to flourish and blamed the Gers coaching staff for not nailing him to a regular position.

Durrant said: "If John's fair to himself, he'll admit he has tailed off a bit. But he'll get there with hard work.

"We see it every day in training, the level of ability he's got. He has maybe just lost his way a bit.

"But we also have to look at ourselves because we have to pin down a position for him. He's been used wide left, right and in the hole.

"John is still young, he's not even 20 yet. I'd love him just to come on and explode in a game because the talent is there. We will get it out of him.

"If we get him fit he can be a big player for us. We have to keep his head right and we don't want to lose him.

"Breaking into the first team is easy, the hard part is staying there and producing consistently good performances.

"Maybe John did get too much too early but he was good enough to play at 16 and 17. Do you hold him back then lose him?

"He's played a lot of games for the first team at such a young age. Maybe he hasn't always been pleasing on the eye but he has definitely contributed to the success we've had.

"He was unlucky last season. We lost him to injury in pre-season and he was chasing his tail after that."

Fleck, along with team-mates Jamie Ness, Gregg Wylde and Kyle Hutton, is among the best batch of youngsters Durrant has seen at Rangers.

Defender Danny Wilson was another who came through the ranks at the same time before sealing a £2million move to Liverpool last year.

Durrant watched these kids at 15 and knew instantly Gers were on to a winner. Now he has urged Ness, Wylde, Fleck and Hutton NOT to follow Wilson out of Ibrox.

He said: "I take a lot of satisfaction from seeing the young boys come through.

"You always want to rear your own and I was lucky to be involved in their recruitment when I worked in the youth department. I don't like to show it to them but I'm proud as punch when I see them play at

"I knew when we signed them the level of young player we were getting. What I didn't expect was for them to play so many games this early in their Rangers careers.

"Out of that group I knew we'd get three or four who could be real stalwarts for Rangers.

"It's unfortunate Wilson made up his mind to go and has found it hard at Liverpool. That's maybe a lesson for some of the other boys.

"Most of them have signed long-term contracts. Wylde is just about to commit as well so the future here looks quite rosy.

"Danny took the opportunity to move but the grass isn't always greener. I was disappointed at the time because I thought he could have been a superstar here.

We absolutely have to get the best out our youth.

Talent never dies. I've yet to see today's game but I've read glowing reports about Fleck's performance.

If it was as good as made out, we should keep him in the team. More importantly, he should keep his feet on the ground and stay focused on growing as a footballer!

Well done Ally and the management team for putting him on today. Keep it up John!

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Wonder if we'll change our minds about sending him on loan now?


by Lindsay Herron

RANGERS are set to put a block on a proposed loan deal for John Fleck after Kyle Lafferty was effectively ruled out for a month today with a hamstring injury.

Blackpool and Sheffield United were both interested in taking Fleck for the rest of the campaign.

However, there is no way Fleck can go right now after Lafferty limped off with a hamstring pull after just eight minutes of today's 3-0 win over Motherwell which could rule him out for a month,

Boss Ally McCoist said: "It's a big problem. It's very early but in my initial chat with Kyle he felt it cramp up and when he went to go again he felt as if he pulled it and that being the case it would certainly be four or five weeks.

"We don't need it but it's another problem we are faced with.

"We will have to reassess that wholee He he situation in terms of a loan deal for Fleck with Lafferty out for a few weeks and Jelavic missing the game with a groin injury and obviously Naismith out long term so it ain't ideal.

"We will sit and have a re-think and I have to say that the way Flecky played today would indicate that he will have more appearances in our first team than not.

"Jelavic had a fitness test this morning and felt that he couldn't play and we hope that it isn't anything serious.

"I have not heard anything more in terms of any interest in him."

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