Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has insisted that Gareth McAuley has a key role to play in nurturing the young defenders, such as Joe Worrall and Nikola Katic, at Ibrox due to his experience and leadership qualities.

McAuley, who joined Rangers in September after being released by West Brom in the summer, has played over 500 games as a professional footballer at senior level.

The 39-year-old has the wealth of experience, while also captaining West Brom in the Premier League and Northern Ireland in the past.

Rangers roped in McAuley earlier this season to bring in a leader at the back and Gerrard claimed that he could be the ideal role-model for the likes of Worrall and Katic at Ibrox this term.

Gerrard also insisted that McAuley’s leadership will be a key element at Ibrox, especially considering the fact that both Worrall and Katic are still developing.

“We have four good centre-backs, Katic and Worrall both started great, but they are still young and learning their game”, Gerrard said in a press conference.

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“They have no better player to look up to than Gareth McAuley.

“McAuley is naturally a leader and an organiser.

"I need to manage him differently due to his age and the amount of game he has played.

“As a young team, it is key to have that voice and leadership around the place.”

McAuley, who played the entirety of the win over Hamilton on Sunday, has notched up seven appearances across all competitions for Rangers.