Promising 16-year-old midfielder Bailey Rice signed a contract extension to 2026 yesterday. Fabrizio Romano tweeted out the news after it was announced by the club. The transfer guru claimed that ‘many clubs showed interest but highly rated 16 year old decided to stay’.
To me, that would suggest he’s had some guarantees around first team football, or maybe he just loves the club. No names of the interested clubs were mentioned but having seen his ability, it’s not inconceivable that it would be top clubs down south chasing his signature.
Michael Beale had this to say on Rice’s contract extension;
We are delighted that Bailey has extended his contract. This is recognition of the development he has made since joining the club and in making the step-up to the first team during the pre-season period.
Bailey is aware that he has a long road ahead in terms of further improvement, and maintaining the same excellent mentality will be key to him fulfilling his full potential.Michael Beale to the Rangers official website
Rangers signed Rice from Motherwell last summer and he’s impressed in the B team ever since. He captained Scotland at U17 level and during this international break made the step up to the U19s.
Is Bailey Rice Ready?
It’s really hard to tell currently, when he plays for the B team he looks like a first team player stepping down a level. He’s so composed on the ball and is always available to receive it.
Rangers still lack players willing to play on the half turn and he would provide that. He also offers balance to the midfield by being left footed so would help to open the game up.
He’s mostly played as a 6 for the B team which is a position many Rangers fans wanted to strengthen in the summer. Ryan Jack seems to be first choice for there with Raskin filling in when Jack isn’t available.
Should Rice be getting some minutes in there? Minus Leon King being forced into the team because of injury last season, the club haven’t been great at allowing youngsters first team minutes.
Can Bailey Rice be the player who breaks this cycle? Very rarely do you see a 16-year-old come into the first team and play with the swagger and composure that he does. His confidence is very reminiscent of Barry Ferguson when he came into the Rangers first team. Could Rice follow in his footsteps? Will he be offered the same chance that Ferguson was?
Recently, we’ve seen the likes of a 17-year-old Jude Bellingham run the midfield for Dortmund and even captain the side. 16-year-old Lamine Yamal has been starting for Barcelona and Spain. Why are we so against giving young players a chance?
He may get the chance and not take it, he may not be ready right now. How can you tell if he isn’t given the chance though? He can’t do much worse than any players out there currently. Ryan Jack can’t play three games in eight days and Nico Raskin has been well below par so far.
It’s more likely this will mean that Lundstram and Cifuentes get more minutes. Would you like to see Rice get a chance though? If the club want to develop him with a view to being a first team player or a promising youngster to sell then he has to be given a chance to develop.
Do you think Bailey Rice should be given more first team minutes? Does he need a 6 month loan spell from January with a view to playing next season? With the European squad only listing four midfielders, it could be the perfect time to throw him in, see if he’s ready.
Do you agree or would you rather he was a bit more protected regarding his first team minutes? The club will never know if Bailey Rice is ready until they give him the chance to prove himself. I hope he gets the opportunity, personally.
ICYMI you can read yesterdays article on the European squad selection here.