It’s crunch time at Ibrox for major fan favourite

It’s crunch time at Ibrox for major fan favourite

He signed in summer 2018, one of Steven Gerrard’s early recruits, but deep into 2020, crisis notwithstanding, Niko Katic has never managed to secure more than 16 (I mean it’s not bad, but it’s not great) starts in a row of nearly two seasons worth of football.

He’s one many fans absolutely love, but a minority aren’t so keen on. Whichever way you roll, he’s been managed strangely by his manager, who called him a ‘project’.

Gerrard has been critical of his weaknesses, while paradoxically admitting his form kept new signing Filip Helander out of the team, only to then inexplicably drop the Croat to start the Swede.

Drop, that is, when his form was looking magnificent. After that, Katic looked at sixes and sevens, but then who could blame him with his being in and out of the team under this manager?

First his place was lost to Joe Worrall, then to Helander. Regardless of how well he was playing.

This will be his third season as a Rangers player, and with his now being 23 nearly 24 we really feel if he isn’t a regular this time around he’s just not a Stevie favourite and will never be preferred to start at this club under the present management.

Whether that’s right or wrong is for better people than us to determine, but there’s no denying Katic, on form, has all the tools to be every inch as good as Virgil Van Dijk was at Celtic (not sure if he can ascend to the world’s best defender class the Dutchman now is at Liverpool but hey). He’s got the same power, pace, willing to get hurt, and the same big physique.

He does, or did, lack a little in the positional awareness stakes, and his slight rush of blood to get involved where patience would be more key, but that was when he was younger. He’s fast approaching 24 now and if he’s not going to cement a place under Stevie next season, he’s done at this club for sure.

And we don’t know why Stevie hasn’t trusted him more.

He’s not perfect, but none of his rivals are, and if any of them has been especially impressive, it’s Katic. He’s big, strong, colossal in the air, fast, and will hurt himself for the team. And his form last year before losing his place to Helander was absolutely outstanding.

No one could understand why he was dropped, nor could they when he got ditched in favour of Forest’s Worrall.

2020/21 – the season Katic finally secures the slot?

Is 20/21 the season Katic makes it?

Yes, he’s good enough
No, he isn’t
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