Rangers have been slightly unlucky after the winter break as their first choice centre back Connor Goldson missed the last few games due to injury. Without a doubt, the former Brighton defender was the first choice even though Steven Gerrard has often rotated the other spot in central defence. The injury to Goldson gave a chance to Nikola Katic and the Croatian has definitely won back Gerrard’s approval after his recent displays.
The gaffer was quoted as saying (Herald Scotland), ”He’s been very strong in training and he deserved the opportunity and he took it with both hands. When you’re out of a team and you’re looking in and desperate to play then you have to learn and speak to the right people around you and be honest with yourself.”
The young defender had committed some errors earlier and Steven Gerrard insisted (The Scotsman) that those mistakes had taken a toll on the defender’s confidence. That was one of the reasons why the manager decided to protect him instead of throwing him into the firing line.
The defender has looked solid in his partnership with Joe Worrall in the past few games but the question remains that who would make way when Goldson becomes available?
On recent performance, Worrall is the likely one as he has had some shocking games in defence off late. However, the manager often preferred the Englishman and Katic was sometimes not even included in the matchday squads. Therefore one shouldn’t be surprised if the manager reverts back to the Worrall and Goldson partnership.
However, the club should continue with Katic as dropping him even after his recent performances might bring down his confidence once again. The 22-year-old seems to have a decent partnership going with both Goldson and Worrall. Whereas when Worrall and Goldson start together, they often don’t look on the same wavelength.
Moreover, Worrall is just on a season-long loan and the club should concentrate on developing Katic as he is the one who’s going to stay at the club in the long term. The Katic-Goldson partnership did brilliantly at the start of the season. Rangers on the back of a strong defensive performance made it through from the tough Europa League qualifiers.
Katic is still just 22 and is a top talent. Central defence is one of the positions which isn’t often rotated in football as the understanding and communication between the two defenders play a significant role in keeping it tight at the back. So the more games the two players play together, the better it is for the club. Gerrard needs to stop tinkering with his centre-back partnership when all of the defenders become available and Katic should definitely be playing regularly in the first team after his recent displays.
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