Why Rangers should offer academy starlet Jamie Barjonas a new deal
The 20-year-old midfielder is expected to put pen to paper on fresh terms to extend his stay at the club by a further year, with the Daily Record suggesting that the youngster is held in high regard by manager Steven Gerrard.
Born in Leeds, England, Barjonas migrated north of the border to join Rangers at the youth level back in 2008 as a nine-year-old and made rapid progress through the various age-groups before making his senior professional bow for the Gers in the 2016-17 campaign, coming on as a substitute in a 2-1 victory over Partick Thistle in the Scottish Premiership.
The talented starlet made 4 appearances in all competitions in his breakthrough season and followed it up with another 5 in the 2017-18 season before being shipped out on loan to English League Two outfit Bury FC for the first half of the previous campaign.
Following his return to Ibrox, Barjonas was once again loaned out to Raith Rovers in Scottish League One back in January to allow him to further his development with more regular minutes.
Having made a total of 27 appearances on loan last season, Gerrard decided to keep him at the club for the ongoing campaign, despite a loan offer from Mansfield Town. (h/t Daily Record)
The 20-year-old is yet to earn a first-team opportunity to impress under Gerrard but he has been involved with the U-21 side in the Scottish Challenge Cup this season, registering a goal and an assist in three appearances.
Stiff competition for places in the senior ranks at Ibrox has made opportunities hard to come by for Jamie Barjonas but he continues to be highly-rated at his boyhood club, with the Gers apparently ready to secure his future with a new deal.
Essentially a central midfielder by trade, Barjonas has earned rave reviews for his technical abilities on the ball and an impressive range of passing, with many regarding him as a player with the potential to push on and make a big impact at the highest level.
Born in England, the youngster has represented Scotland at all age-groups starting from U-15 to U-19, although he still remains eligible to represent either country at the senior international level.
To put things into perspective, Jamie Barjonas isn’t really in the first-team fold under Steven Gerrard at the moment but he looks like a real talent for the future, having made his senior debut for the Gers as a teenager a couple of seasons ago.
However, given that the youth staff at the club have high hopes of him, losing him for free next summer would be a real shame for the club’s academy and the Gers would be left to rue the 20-year-old’s departure if he goes on to fulfil his promise at some other club.
With that in mind, a new deal for Barjonas would be a vote of confidence in the youngster’s abilities and a stance that might allow him some more time to break into Gerrard’s plans.
Plus, he already some senior experience under his belt and Rangers should try to polish him into a more complete player who would be capable of pushing for a substantial role in the coming days.
In fairness to Barjonas, the 20-year-old would probably have played some kind of a role in Gerrard’s side had it not been for several more established players like Glen Kamara, Steven Davis, Scott Arfield, Joe Aribo and Ryan Jack in the ranks.
The Leeds-born starlet is still very young, though, and has a lot of time on his side to make significant improvements to his game. The pathway to the first-team looks quite packed at the moment but one would expect Gerrard to give him a crack of the whip sooner rather than later if he continues to impress for the U-21s.
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All in all, Rangers offering Jamie Barjonas a new deal would be indicative of the kind of effort that the Gers are putting in to bring through talented youngsters from the academy.