Confusion surrounds Rangers, Steven Gerrard and Nikola Katic after the Croat’s surprise omission from Gerrard’s starting XI in Villarreal last night.
Fans were stunned to see the ever-present’s name on the bench, and loanee Joe Worrall’s presence in his place, and when asked pre-match on BT Steven Gerrard’s reasoning was arguably logical, if still surprising.
“Nikola has played a lot of football, about 17 games this season already, he’s tired and needed a rest.”
In Gerrard’s defence this is true, Katic has been ever present and worked like a lion the entire time, and he is only 21 after all.
However, it was his next admission which left us scratching our heads;
“After all, he’s just come back from the international break.”
Now, correct us if we’re wildly wrong, but only Borna Barisic was called up by Croatia (and put in a hell of a shift against Portugal) from Gerrard’s squad, so unless we’re missing something wildly, this is a heck of a strange gaffe for the manager to make.
However, we do also testify that Katic was not present for the training session placed for those not on duty for their country during said break, so it may have been possible he got a last-minute call albeit his name is not listed in the squad for either Portugal or Spain.
Furthermore, Barisic himself confirmed on the 6th of this month he thought Katic should have been called up, so, as we say, unless we’ve missed something big time, Gerrard made a wee error there, and we still cannot fathom why Katic was dropped.