Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has explained that the strong form of Nikola Katic at the beginning of the season has kept new signing Filip Helander on the fringes so far.
The Gers signed defender Helander for £3.5million (Scottish Sun) this summer from Italian club Bologna and he moved to Ibrox in search of success.
But the 26-year-old is yet to make a first-team appearance for the Scottish heavyweights and also not been named in a match day squad.
The Sweden international is a no-nonsense centre-back that arrives with a reputation of being a strong enforcer, but is yet to show supporters what he’s capable of.
Gerrard, who is preparing his Rangers team to face FC Midtjylland in a Europa League qualifier on Thursday, has been discussing the form of regular starting centre-back.
He’s admitted that his form has been a path put in the way of Helander and that’s why he’s been overlooked.
“Niko Katic was a player who came at a very young age. He lost his confidence at a stage last season but overall his first season was very positive,” Gerrard said in his press conference, as cited by the club’s official Twitter account.
“We love and admire Niko, we want to help grow & develop. He’s taken his form into new season and probably the reason I haven’t been able to introduce Filip Helander.”
Helander is clearly having to be patient waiting for his Rangers opportunity, but needs to take his chance when it comes around and he’s capable of making an impact.
The left-footed centre-back could bring a great balance to Gers backline and is someone that previously impressed in Serie A.
Katic and Connor Goldson look the preferred centre-back combination for now, while 21-year-old rising talent George Edmundson has been an option on the bench of late.