BLUE is still the colour for Nathan Young-Coombes. It is at Rangers rather than Chelsea where he now wants to make his name, where he can see his dreams becoming reality.

At 16, he knew the bright lights and razzmatazz of the Premier League were still some way away, but when he couldn’t see a flicker at the end of the tunnel he felt the time was right to move from London to Glasgow.

Only time will tell if Chelsea’s loss is Rangers’ gain, if Young-Coombes has made the right choice when his career is still in its formative stages.

His first visit to the Hummel Training Centre convinced him to leave Cobham behind. After just a few weeks, Young-Coombes is even more certain that he has chosen wisely.

“There was an opportunity for me to come and sign for Rangers and I couldn’t see a pathway for me down south,” he told SportTimes. “When I came up here to speak to Craig Mulholland, I saw the environment I would be in and that wasn’t something I was used to down south.

“I came here, everyone was so polite, made me feel so welcome and it is a very together environment. You can just be yourself and being yourself and being happy is crucial in football, whatever age you are.

“When you are a youth player and you are happy and you have a team around you, there is only one thing you can do and that is be successful. We have a young Reserve side, a young 18s side and there is only positivity running through the club. You mix with the first team, you see them around and can talk to them.

“There is no feeling that you are better than anyone else here. Everyone is humble and works hard and that is something you just don’t get all the time down south.”

When Young-Coombes moved from Crystal Palace to Chelsea a couple of years ago, he joined a youth setup that is not always talked about for all the right reasons.

The Cobham conveyor belt rarely produces players for the first team, but kids of all ages find themselves on Chelsea’s books whilst playing their football on loan year after year.

That route no longer appealed to Young-Coombes. Rather than sit and wait for a chance, he took one.

“People think that down south you will get better opportunities, but I can tell you that is the complete opposite,” he said. “I was at Crystal Palace and Chelsea and you don’t get the same opportunities as you get up here. I was surprised by the quality, the professionalism up here.

“Down south, when I was at Chelsea, you get told that Chelsea is the best Academy, it is this, it is that. But when you look here and compare the two, I think ‘wow, if Chelsea really think they are the best, what are Rangers at the moment?’

“It is a step ahead and the thing that really impresses me the most is that Rangers are always looking to improve. It is not about thinking they are better than anyone else, it is how can we be better?

“That is why we are succeeding so much and I do believe that within a couple of years a lot more players will be coming up here because they can see the opportunity and the quality.

“It is a much more positive energy up here and that helps you play your best and be your best.”

Having hit the road and moved across the border, Young-Coombes wasted little time in hitting the ground running with Rangers.

He was part of the Under-17 side that won the Al Kass Cup in Qatar earlier this year, while he has also turned out for the Under-20 team.

The ultimate aim is to impress boss Steven Gerrard. He has already been wowed by the England legend.

“I have spoken to him a couple of times and that means a lot because, at Chelsea, you wouldn’t even see the first team manager at all,” Young-Coombes said. You wouldn’t see any of the first team players, everything is so closed off and it is like a separate world. Here, the Academy is linked to the first team so you will see the players, the coaches and the manager.

“Steven Gerrard is arguably the best centre-mid that England has ever produced so when you see him and he asks how you are doing, it means so much. That doesn’t happen down south and you can see that togetherness through the club.

“The knowledge and wisdom that the manager has, and the things that he has done in the Champions League and for England, you can’t not learn from someone like that.

“I want to play under him in the coming years and the opportunity to do that made my decision so easy.”

Supporters are already keeping a close eye on Young-Coombes’ progress and hopes are high that he could make the grade at Ibrox.

His focus is on the here and now but first team football has to be the ambition for every Light Blues kid.

“That is the reason why I came up here,” he said. “The Premier League is so dependant on money that Academy players and graduates just can’t get an opportunity.

“When an 18-year-old has no experience and can’t necessarily perform at that level straight away, clubs will just pay millions for a player rather than produce their own talent because staying in the league is vital financially. Here it is about producing players to become the best.”

* Rangers Academy forward Nathan Young-Coombes is pictured promoting Rangers Lotto for the Rangers Youth Development Company.

Rangers Lotto costs just £1 to play, is one of the most successful products in RYDC’s growing portfolio and fans have won cash prizes of £10 million since it was launched in 1994.

Since 2002, RYDC profits have been directed to Rangers Football Club’s youth programme - with almost £8 million provided so far – and they donated a fantastic sum of £400,000 to the academy in January.

For full details on all RYDC products – Rangers Lotto, Rangers Pools, Rising Stars, Scratchcards, Stadium Bricks and the Youth Members Club – visit or call 0141 427 4914.