Rangers defender Robbie Fraser has enjoyed a whirlwind few months with the Light Blues.

He made his competitive debut against Dundee at Ibrox, earned his first start at Hearts and signed a new long-term contract with the club but all this was only achieved as a result of 14 years of hard graft at the Academy.

The 21-year-old left back, who joined in 2010, has worked tirelessly to give himself the chance to feature for the first-team and he was in dreamland in May when Philippe Clement rewarded his endeavour with the chance to make his first appearance.

Fraser replaced Ridvan Yilmaz just after the hour with Rangers drawing 2-2 against Dundee and he played his part in the eventual 5-2 victory.

A few days later, things got even better for the young Scot when he was handed a start at Tynecastle and he didn’t look out of place in a difficult environment during the hour he was on the pitch.

Robbie recently agreed a new deal with Rangers and is now part of the first-team squad for the new campaign but his relentless work ethic and determination to succeed remains as strong as ever and he is ready to do all he can to force his way into Clement’s side.

In a wide-ranging interview as he showed his support for The Rangers Youth Development Company – who have provided more than £11 million to the Academy since 2002 – Fraser recalled his Academy journey so far.

He said: “I first started with the Football in the Community teams then I was brought into the youth set-up full-time.

“It has been amazing and making my debut was down to a lot of hard work on the pitch, in the gym and learning from so many top coaches.

“I have worked as hard as I could here for 14 years and was ready for that moment.

“You need to be on it 365 days a year here. It’s non-stop and you have to give everything you can to earn the chance.

“I love working hard, I love giving everything I have because it make the rewards even sweeter. I don’t want anything just given to me, I want to earn it.

“That will never change for me so here’s hoping I can have a good future here.

“Signing the new contract gives me peace of mind and it was a massive moment for me.

“Earning myself a new contract shows I’ve been doing really well and the manager and his staff have seen that.

“Hopefully I can kick on now and really enjoy the season ahead.

“Making my Rangers debut last season meant everything to me.

“I’ve given everything to this football club for 14 years so to get that experience and make my debut against Dundee in front of the fans at Ibrox Stadium was special.

“Having my family in the stand made it even more special.

“I was training with the first-team for a couple of days before the game so I figured I was going to be in the squad.

“Just before the match, the manager spoke to me and told me I should be positive and take my opportunity if I got the chance to get on and I was so happy to do it.

“It was 2-2 when I came on and there was big pressure on us to get the win. So I had to try and make an impact and I think I did. In the end we won 5-2 and it was great to be part of it.

“It was a dream come true for me to make my debut. Growing up, you just want that moment. It felt good and it’s a moment that will sit with me for the rest of my life.

“I started against Hearts the next weekend and I didn’t think it could get any better for me.

“I found out the day before I was starting, I don’t normally get too nervous but it was a big thing to get your first start for Rangers.

“I felt good and the boys and coaching staff all looked after me.

“The manager has told me to keep doing what I’m doing. He’s liked what he’s seen from me and he believes in me. If I keep on the right track and develop, he told me I have an exciting future at this club.

“It was exactly what I wanted to hear. I’ve given so much to Rangers and if I had just fallen short that would have been disappointing but I’ve made the next step and it’s hard to put into words sometimes.

“I have to thank so many people for helping me on this journey.

“I worked closely with Brian Gilmour when he was at the Academy for a number of years and it’s great he is with the first-team now.

“I had lots of deep chats with him about football and life. It’s not just about the player, it’s also about your life away from the pitch.

“Stevie Smith, who was a great left-back for this club, Greg Statt, Peter Lovenkrands, David McCallum and all my coaches have helped me since I joined. 

“I owe them all so much, they have all played their part.

“They put a lot of time and effort into me and I hope they feel a sense of satisfaction when any young player progresses to the first-team. I’m sure they do and I can’t thank them enough.

“They work tirelessly every day and I am so grateful.

“You need to be on top of your game all the time as there will be someone else wanting your position.

“Nothing will change for me though, I will keep working hard and focus. I’ll always have the same attitude, desire and energy to come in and give everything for this club.

“That’s the minimum this club deserves from any player.

“I know what it means to play for Rangers and I’ll always give everything I have. 

“Here’s hoping I’m here for a long time.

“Alex Rae is also part of the staff and it’s great to work with him too. He knows absolutely everything about this club and what it means to play for the badge.

“I’ve always felt it was integral to have players who have played for the club working here.

“They know what it’s like. There are so many great coaches at this place and I’ve also had good chats with Malky Thomson, he is brilliant and so good at talking to the young players.

“The Academy is a great environment to learn.

“I started in midfielder but I moved to left-back in a game and I am really thankful I did.

“I had a good relationship with Borna Barisic when he was here. I was sad when he left because he invested so much time in me and was always talking to me about my game.

“He could give me tips on improving. 

“We had a good chat just before the Scottish Cup Final last season and he told me I was the future of this football club. That quote is something that will always stay with me.

“It was really nice to hear him say that.

“Growing up I loved watching Steven Davis and forward players like Kenny Miller, Kris Boyd, Nacho Novo and Nikica Jelavic.

“I also loved the way David Weir and Allan McGregor played. 

“They were fantastic servants.

“We have had so many great players at this football club.

“For me, I just want to improve every day and keep progressing. I don’t want to look too far ahead.

“Things can change in football really quickly so I’ll just work and try and improve as much as I can to get more opportunities to play.

“I have to be patient but I know what I am capable of if I’m given the chance.

“Some of my best friends at the club are on the same journey as me and it’s great to see guys like Ross McCausland, Cole McKinnon, Leon King and others playing for the first-team.

“I’ve grown up with them and also Bailey Rice and Alex Lowry, so to share the training pitch with them is incredible.

“It doesn’t get much better and there is a pathway to the first-team here.

“The manager has given a lot of young players the chance and Rangers prepare players for a life in professional football.

“Not everyone can make it, of course, but we are given every opportunity to go on and have good careers and my progress has been assisted by The Rangers Youth Development Company. 

“RYDC have provided more than £11 million to the Academy and that’s an incredible amount. 

“So many fans play their products and that investment helps with the running of the Academy. We all develop thanks to RYDC and I couldn’t be any more thankful.

“We have the platform to go and show what we can do every day and the staff and facilities are top class as a result.

“This is a huge football club and you can see that when you visit the Rangers Museum

“I got a tour last season and I’ve been there a few times now. it’s amazing to see the history of the club.

“If you didn’t know what the club was all about before then you will after five minutes.

“It’s a whirlwind tour. So many honours won and so many great players have played here.

“I would advise anyone to go and have a look. It just shows you how big this club really is.”

Robbie’s development was assisted by annual RYDC donations to the Rangers Academy and more than £11 million has already been provided.

Profit from RYDC products Rangers Lotto, Stadium Bricks and The Union Jackpot draw all go to the Academy, while profit from Museum Lotto is donated to the club for the upkeep and maintenance of the new museum.

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