After Nikola Katic completed his £2 million move to Rangers in the summer, the sporting director of his former club Slaven Belupo tipped the Croatian for the very top.
“Nikola is very strong in challenges, excellent on the ground and even better in the air,” Zvonimir Simunovic told the Scottish Sun. “Vedran Corluka and Dejan Lovren have been top class for Croatia for a long time but Nikola can get close to them.”
In his first few months at Rangers, Katic has done very little to suggest that Simunovic’s predictions were wide of the mark. The 22-year-old has impressed, particularly in Europe, while forming a fine partnership with fellow summer signing Connor Goldson.
But it seems that Steven Gerrard prefers Joe Worrall. The Nottingham Forest loanee has suddenly established himself in the Rangers’ starting XI, with Katic failing to feature in a league game since the 5-1 thrashing of St Johnstone in September.
Worrall has started both Rangers’ Europa League fixtures, too, with Gerrard describing him as ‘outstanding’. But why Katic was dropped remains a mystery, and perhaps the most controversial decision the Liverpool legend has made since he was appointed Rangers manager.
Worrall does have talent, particularly with the ball at his feet, but Katic has looked a more solid and reliable defender while the England U21 ace has been found out of position on a number of occasions.
As a result, many Rangers fans have questioned Gerrard’s decision to drop Katic for Worrall and you cannot blame them. This is perhaps the only decision so far that the Gers supporters have not agreed with.