Rangers recently went on to confirm that Croatian centre half Nikola Katic has signed a new long term deal which will keep him at the club until 2023. The 23-year-old was signed last season from Croatian outfit NK Slaven and Katic has gone on to impress at Ibrox in the past one year.
The defender made 14 appearances in the Premiership last season. He had seemingly formed a good partnership with Connor Goldson early on, but later Gerrard often went on to use Joe Worrall over Katic at the back. This season again, Katic hasn’t really managed to cement his place in the starting eleven as he has started in 5 games in the Premiership so far.
Gerrard explains his reason for not making Katic a regular feature
Gerrard recently went on to explain why he has used the Croatian like that so far. The manager said (Daily Record), ”If you look at the basics, what you need to be a centre-half in this league. You need to be able to handle yourself in both boxes, be physical and compete. And you need to be mobile. All the main things are there for Niko; we just need to continue to polish and shape his game.”
”He’s been a regular for me, he’s been out the team at times just to protect him because of his age – in centre-half terms, he’s still young. But he’s a fantastic asset for the club, and he’s got a major part to play in what we’re trying to do here. I think we’ve just shown everyone that with the contract, not just in terms of its length but also rewarding him in the contract as well.”
Right approach from Gerrard?
Katic had been found wanting on occasions last season due to the intensity of the league, and maybe that is why Gerrard has decided to protect him from time to time so that he doesn’t lose his confidence with a few bad performances.
However, we think that Gerrard should have a stable centre back partnership as it is not a position which should be rotated much. Katic has done reasonably well so far this season, but competition for places is high after the arrival of Filip Helander and George Edmundson. It seems clear that Gerrard has a long term plan for the Croatian, and he is willing to be patient to polish his game.
A boost for Rangers?
It remains to be seen now whether this approach would work for the team and the player. Katic signing on a new, improved deal is definitely a piece of good news for the Gers as it is clear that his heart is set at Ibrox and he is willing to be a long term candidate for the centre back position at the club even though he might not be regular for now.
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