Having not kicked a ball in light blue for nearly a full three weeks now, missing out on the outstanding victories against Hamilton and indeed Aberdeen, it’s fair to say that Fil Helander has had enough time to stew on his unfortunate display against Benfica on UEL matchday three.
With Balogun being recalled to the defence in place of the big Swedish stopper, we think that the time is right to restore him to the starting eleven and give him the opportunity to atone for his errors in Lisbon.
You’d have to say that before that, he had undoubtedly been one of our most consistent performers this season. His positional sense is second to none, he looks comfortable with the ball at his feet and he throws himself around heroically for the cause. After an uncertain start to his Ibrox career, he’s really caught the eye for all the right reasons this season.
Leon Balogun has also been solid. He put in a fantastic debut at Pittodrie to kick off the season and hasn’t done too much wrong since. That being said however, he looked a bit dodgy at the weekend there and several times he was caught either out of position or made a hash of clearing his lines inside his own box.
That’s okay when you’re playing against an under-strength Aberdeen side, whilst 4-0 up, but it’s a different story if you make the same mistakes against a team of Champions League quality such as Benfica……Fil Helander can attest to that.
In short, Balogun was spared any blushes at the weekend because his team mates bailed him out by being ruthless at the other end. Goldson made a goal saving block to help him out as well.
Helander wasn’t as fortunate against Benfica and both he and Rangers paid the price on that occasion. A show of faith from the manager in recalling him on Thursday night though would be a huge boost to his confidence and a second chance to show what he’s really all about. Let’s remember, there’s another centre-half in our ranks who’s seemingly being given a second chance for a far bigger offence.
With Edmundson on the naughty step for now though, and Katic still returning to fitness, maybe now is the right time to think about getting a bit of consistency into the back line. Three defensive jerseys seem to be nailed down (rightly so) and we think that the final slot in that back four should be the number 5 of Helander.
With a chance at redemption against Benfica, followed by what should be a routine fixture against Falkirk at the weekend, it would be great to see Filip back doing what he does best and hopefully settling back into a Rangers defence with a crucial period of festive fixtures to fulfil.