Gerrard heaps praise on Katic

Rangers' Croatian pair Nikola Katic and Borna Barisic have both reported injury problems to their international set-up.

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard says the form of Nikola Katic is keeping summer signing Filip Helander out of the team.

Sweden international Helander was tipped to be the regular partner for Connor Goldson at the heart of Rangers’ defence after joining from Bologna, but the form of Katic has meant he has been unable to get a look in at the start of the season.

Gerrard has certainly been impressed by the performances of Croatian Katic, admitting he has come on leaps and bounds since arriving at the club from Slaven Belupo in 2018.

“I think he is moving along very quickly, he has come back in such a positive frame of mind after a really strong tournament with Croatia Under 21s in the summer,” Gerrard told reporters.

“He has taken his form into the new season and that is probably a reason why I haven’t been able to introduce Filip Helander at the moment.”

Katic is expected to be in the starting XI when Rangers welcome Danish outfit Midtjylland to Ibrox for the second-leg of their Europa League third qualifying round tie on Thursday and Gerrard is tipping the 22-year-old to continue to improve.

“I predict he is going to get better and better and for sure, in answer to your question, he has the mentality to be a Rangers player,” the former Liverpool captain added.