GRAEME MURTY hopes midfielder Billy Gilmour sees the value of extending his stay with Rangers and turns down a summer switch to Chelsea.

The 15-year-old has emerged as one of the brightest talents in the Light Blues ranks this term and has attracted interest from a host of clubs in England and abroad.

Chelsea lead the race to secure his services during the close season and have already agreed a financial package with the Gers to take Gilmour to Stamford Bridge.

But Under-20 boss Murty believes the Scotland youth international would be better served by staying at Ibrox and progressing to Pedro Caixinha’s first team as quickly as possible.

He said: “Billy knows my thoughts and we have an open and ongoing dialogue. He knows my thoughts on the pathway to being a top player.

“I think there is a world of difference between pushing to play in the Rangers first-team compared to playing in a youth team elsewhere.

“The opportunities and speed of progression would be far greater here than anywhere else. But he has to weigh up his options and make the choice that is right for him.

“We will respect his decision but he knows we want him to stay. It’s a call he has to make for his own career.

“He doesn’t have to make it to try and please this football club, or the other clubs that are after him, he has to do it for him.

“If he thinks it is right he stays here and becomes the youngest player to get to 100 games for Rangers or whatever way he maps out his career, but it is a big decision for a 15-year-old.

“We have to make sure we manage him and don’t put too much pressure on his shoulders. We have a duty of care to make sure he focuses on his football and nothing else.

“When he steps out onto the pitch, regardless of what team it is with, it’s vital he can put those things to the back of his mind. Our job is to make sure he walks onto the park feeling free to express his ability.”

After a spell as interim manager following the departure of Mark Warburton, Murty is now back working in the Auchenhowie youth ranks as he looks to produce the next generation of Ibrox stars.

Boss Caixinha has integrated several Light Blue kids into his first team training sessions in recent weeks and has held talks with Gilmour about his future.

Rangers may ultimately lose the services of their teenage protégé but Murty believes there are other up and coming talents with a chance of making a big breakthrough.

He said: “What has been great since the manager has come in is there has been Under-20 and 17s round training with the first-team. They have the opportunity to show the manager what they are about.

“On Friday we had five training with the first-team which is fantastic for them. Some of the younger ones went round and were excellent and I was full of praise for them because they handled it really well.

“They have had a sniff of it and hopefully it lights a fire in some of them to say ‘I’m going to get in front of Billy and get that shirt’. If it does that it creates a great atmosphere in our academy of friendly but intense competition which it has to be.

“Everyone keeps banging on about the pathway, but the pathway here is really clear. They have all been round and seen it.

“We don’t band it about here, they know if they are hungry enough and dedicate themselves enough then the manager will use them. But it is up to them to take their chance.”