IT’S NOT only the first team where Rangers have been busy in the transfer market this summer with several players being acquired for the club’s B Team and Academy.

Archie Stevens is one of a handful of young talents that have been enticed to Ibrox to further their development.

The 16-year-old attracted the attention of the Rangers scouting network after impressing for AFC Wimbledon at Under-18 and Under-23 levels.

The Light Blues beat off competition from several other clubs to land him and it’s clear to see just why there was a clamour for his signature.

Michael Hamilton is the Academy Manager at AFC Wimbledon, he told the Rangers Review the club has recruited a notable talent.

“From Wimbledon’s perspective, we are massively disappointed to lose him,” he said.

“He made his under 23s debut last season when he was under 15. We played Liverpool 23s at Plough Lane so it was a bit of a tester to try and see how he would cope with the stadium and how it would operate on a match day. He got 20 minutes at the end so that showed how much we rate him.

“He was also included on the standby list for England under 16s last season so he’s on their radar as well. It's no surprise that Rangers weren’t the only club to be watching him.

“We found him just at the end of the under 13s season having been released by Fulham previously and in between coming to us and before signing for Fulham I know he had trials at a few other clubs but he was overlooked.

“He’s a very attack-minded player, his stronger position is on the right, he scores goals, he creates some things out of nothing, he’s got the ability to beat two, three players at a time and creating so he’s a highly-effective player.

“He’s also more than capable of playing as a 10. Last season, we tried to develop other parts of his game, so he was playing in the middle as a 10 and on the left just to get him to face different scenarios and come up with different solutions really.

“He needed a bit of work on his defensive side and on the transitions but when the ball’s at his feet he kind of came alive.

“We’ve done a lot of work with him in those areas and as he’s got older he’s become a lot more efficient and effective. We even played him as a full-back so that the game was in front of him and he had to be a little bit more thoughtful of his defensive work.

“I wouldn’t say he struggled but he definitely found it a challenge but you put him on the right-hand side and he comes alive.

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“Obviously all this work was being done with the view that he would be with us so we were just trying to make him a little bit more rounded in certain areas.”

As well as impressing on the pitch, Hamilton is sure Rangers have signed someone who is a joy to work with off it.

While technical skillset is what catches the eye, football is littered with sad stories of those who don't match their quality with work rate. No such concerns linger with Stevens.

“His attitude’s brilliant off the pitch,” he said.

“He comes from a very humble background. His family are great, his mum Sarah and his dad, he’s got a very strong support network around him.

“He always wants to do well, he wants clarity when he steps onto the pitch. He’s very much about, ‘Let me know what you need me to do,’ type thing. When you give him different challenges and different things to work out I think he adapted well.

“Off the pitch, he’s excellent, he works hard and wants to maximise his potential and does everything to do so.

“When I heard of Rangers’ interest I was interested to see how the family approached it because it’s not a case of just moving home, it’s moving to another country but having spoken to his mum Sarah, the general consensus is this might be good for him.

“He’s going to have to grow up and become a lot more self-managing off the pitch so it might be good for him.”

Stevens has already made an impression in the short time he’s been at the club and netted a double in the under 18s 4-0 win over County Armagh in their Super Cup NI fixture on Tuesday night. But as usual there's the million dollar question: can he progress all the way to the first team? Hamilton reckons he has a golden opportunity.

“I don’t like the term wonderkid but I see it as potential,” he said. "Some display more potential than others but potential is just that, it can either be utilised and maximised or wasted.

“He’s definitely a young man with a lot of potential. I would assume by the way Rangers have purchased him and looked after him that they’ve got a long-term plan for him so I’d be very surprised if he wasn’t given an opportunity.

“But moving up north away from home poses different challenges. He’ll have to grow up, the next 12-18 months will be very interesting for him. What no one has really got is a crystal ball, I hope it all goes well for him but speaking to Rangers and the plans they have for him and how much they’ve watched him, I can definitely see him being afforded an opportunity as long as he applies himself well.”