JM:- “He’s technically very good, he’s athletic – he’s got all the right attributes to be a footballer.
While enthusing over the signing of Kane Ritchie-Hosler on a three year deal, manager James McPake acknowledged that Kane is just the kind of player you want at a football club, he excites the club and just as much, its supporters but James also warned that there needs to be caution not to build up added pressure on the 20 year old:-
“He’s been excellent, not just as a player, which we saw in the latter stages of the season, but he’s been excellent since the day he came in. He’s a credit to himself, his family, and Rangers Football Club in that respect.
“He came in and he didn’t start playing games right away. His minutes were stop-start here and there, but, every single day, the lad just kept working. He kept trying to improve, and learn the side of the game that he had never really come across in terms of his young career so far.”
That career had seen Kane move north from the huge impressive and elegant Manchester City Football Academy to Glasgow Rangers. While out on loan in season 2020-2021 he had played six times for Clyde but all as a substitute. He made the bench for Rangers the following season for the last match of the post Premier league split and then made 12 appearances for Rangers B last season before joining Dunfermline at the end of September. James is delighted with the young player’s progression:-
“I know he had the one loan spell, and then he’s been in academy football, but once he started going into that mindset of just how important it was to win games, to make the right decisions, then you saw how the fans took to him at the end of the season.
“There’s loads still to learn, there’s loads still to do, but the beauty of him is that he’s desperate to do that, he’s desperate to still improve. He’s now got to prove he can do it at Championship level, and for his career beyond that as well.”
Kane’s willingness to learn is impressive in itself but the Dunfermline manager acknowledges that first and foremost, he’s a fantastic footballer and technically excellent:-
“That’s why he came through and had so many years in Manchester City’s Academy, and he then goes to Rangers. He’s technically very good, he’s athletic – he’s got all the right attributes to be a footballer. But, on the flip side, he’s got what probably lets a lot of people down, particularly when things aren’t going so well. Sometimes it’s just human nature that, when you’re not getting in a team, or you’re out from what is perceived a huge club to everyone in Rangers, and then you come to League One, and everyone thinks it should just be a walk in the park, but that league was a really tough league. I think all the loan players that came in quickly did that.
“Probably the difference with Kane, in terms of somebody like Paul McGowan, or Sam Fisher, for example, who you could throw straight in, was I knew them as people right away. I knew Kane as a footballer, but what we had to do was get him in, get him acclimatised to our football club, and then learn about Kane the person.
“Every week we walked away impressed. The amount of times I must’ve said to the press that he’s trained great all week to the point, I think I said this, it must’ve been annoying the boy that he kept hearing that, that all week he’s trained great, and then he’d be a sub again at the weekend.
“That’s all part of the learning process. That’s all part of being a footballer, it’s all part of going on loan, and for the way he showed his attitude to go through that, and for his willingness just to keep going. He trains with a smile on a face, he plays with that same smile. We see that no matter if he’s knackered, or if he’s fresh, or in a bad mood, good mood, whatever – he just looks the same.
“He energises the full group with just his natural enthusiasm as a person, and then, as a footballer, you see what he can do for the fans as well. He can knock it by people and put a cross in, like he did for Kevin against Alloa, or he can run in the pitch and play wee one-twos. He’s a clever, clever footballer.
“The other thing that really impresses me about him is he’s not afraid of hard work. He’s not afraid of going back the way. At home to Falkirk, out there with Gary Oliver, at 0-0, he tracks back 70-odd yards and puts it out for a corner. He’s got all that, but he’s still got a lot to learn as well.”