Megan Bell: NI teenager on 'brilliant' start at Rangers and meeting idol Gerrard

Megan Bell
Megan Bell produced an eye-catching display on her debut for Rangers Women

Life couldn't get much better for Northern Ireland teenager Megan Bell after she started her career at Rangers Women with a bang.

The 18-year-old joined the club she supports in January to become a professional footballer for the first time.

Then she notches up a double on her competitive debut as Rangers opened their SWPL campaign with a 3-0 win over Hearts.

Throw in a hello here and there and the odd hand-shake with men's manager Steven Gerrard - her favourite player growing up - and it leaves few boxes to be ticked.

Bell's precocious talent was evident as a 14-year-old when she also scored two goals on her debut for Linfield in the NI Women's Premiership.

Now a key player for the international team, she made the move to Rangers in January from Durham Women in the FA Women's Championship, the second tier of the English game.

Living the dream

"It's been brilliant - I was a massive Rangers fan growing up so it's really just a dream," said Bell.

"Rangers got in touch when I was at Durham. I really enjoyed my time there but there's just some things in life that you can't turn down and the offer of a professional contract with the team you support is difficult to say no to - it was actually a pleasure to accept it.

"All I ever wanted to do as a kid was to be a professional footballer - I need to pinch myself that it's actually happened.

"Sometimes I forget I'm only 18 and my development isn't even over half way. As a player I want to be learning and developing all the time and I think in the correct environment for me.

"I love winning and I've always been around a culture of winning so hopefully that will carry on here."

Bell is benefiting from the Glasgow club's new integrated programme with the men's and women's teams now using the same facilities for training and eating.

This means she gets to rub shoulders with many of her childhood heroes, and with Bell also being a Liverpool fan, this includes one particular former Kop star.

"Rangers are one of, if not the biggest club in the world - the set-up now is so professional especially this year with the programme coming in for the women," added Bell.

Rangers men's boss Steven Gerrard celebrates the league victory over Celtic in December
Rangers men's boss Steven Gerrard celebrates the league victory over Celtic in December

"The integration has been brilliant. It hasn't been two separate teams, two separate clubs. It's been integrated and it feels like one big family. I feel so much part of the club.

"Growing up I used to watch players on TV and now I see them in the corridor - it's a bit crazy . Everyone says hello and and shakes your hand, making you feel so welcome.

"I have seen Steven Gerrard a few times. He a really nice fella and as much as he is my idol he is human as well.

"As a kid growing up he was my favourite footballer and it really hits home where I am when I see him in the corridor - it's mad!"

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