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A McKEE EXPERIENCE; SUPERCUPNI helped earn Chris his dream move to Ibrox.

Byline: GARETH FULLERTON

SUPERCUPNI graduate Chris McKee has revealed how the tournament can act as a shop window for any young players looking to earn a dream move across the water.

McKee joined Glasgow giants Rangers last summer after six years with Linfield.

But it was during the 2017 Super-CupNI that the striker's prospects started gaining momentum.

McKee won the Golden Boot after scoring five goals to help Co Antrim clinch the Junior title two years ago, Stefan Seaton's boys beating GPS Bayern in the final.And while McKee's fledgling career was already on the rise, his heroics elevated it to another level.

"There was interest in me before the Supercupni, but things started to ramp up during the tournament," McKee said.

"All of a sudden there were three or four scouts looking your details. Things can really take off for a young player.

"I had interest from a number of clubs including Nottingham Forest and Stevenage, but I always had my heart set on Rangers. And that's where I ended up."

McKee continues to impress at Rangers following his dream move last summer.

The 17-year-old immediately settled into life in Glasgow, helping Rangers' Under 18s win the league and Youth Cup, and featuring in the Under 17 side that won the Alkass Cup in Qatar (circled).

"I have loved every minute of it. It is a dream come true," he added.

"I always look to everything being a learning experience, and playing at the SuperCupni is something I will always remember.

"Co Antrim went on to win the Junior title last year as well so they are going for a hat-trick this year. So fair play to them."

Co Antrim boss Seaton has seen plenty of his players attract interest from overseas clubs down the years.

McKee is just one example, while former Linfield Rangers youngster Ben Wylie is another.

Wylie captained the Co Antrim team to their 2017 SUPERCUPNI success before earning a big move to Celtic.

Just two of the names from the county select who have earned dream moves across the water.

"Chris McKee was doing pretty well at the time, but then the Super-CupNI came along and it really pushed him on," Seaton added.

"Also look at young Charlie Allen who scored against Manchester United in last year's final for Co Antrim. He reportedly has a host of clubs looking at him right now, including likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Rangers and Celtic.

"These lads produced the goods against quality opposition at the SuPercupni, and suddenly scouts were taking notice and saying 'that young lad looks decent, we will maybe take a look'.

"And there are games being shown on television and streamed live across the world, so it is a massive shop window.

"There will be sometimes parties of three to five scouts at the Super-CupNI. So there could be a few more hidden gems unearthed at this year's tournament."

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GOAL ACHIEVEDChris McKee's form in the SuperCupNI helped him achieve a move to Rangers and international recognition

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 31, 2019
Words:505
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