Glasgow Rangers defender Filip Helander was always going to be up against it when his Sweden side faced Portugal on Tuesday in the UEFA Nations League.
The Portuguese side is full of talent, with the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Joao Felix and Bernardo Silva to contend with. That is without including superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who became the first European player to score 100 goals for his country as he scored twice in the Navigators’ 2-0 victory against Helander and co.
Gustav Svensson’s red card before half-time made the 27-year-old’s task even harder, but the £1.44m-valued man – as per Transfermarkt – actually excelled despite the obstacles in front of him. He made six clearances in the match, which was the second most on the pitch, whilst he also won four of the five duels he contested.
Not only that, he managed a passing accuracy of 89% percent. All in all, he can more than happy with his performance.
Steven Gerrard should be too, and this display gives him a dilemma. Leon Balogun started life fantastically after moving to Ibrox from Brighton, keeping two clean sheets in his first two matches, but an injury to the Nigeria international gave Helander the chance to show he deserves a spot in the starting XI. The Gers have still not conceded with the Swede in the side, and he has now shown that he can impress even against the very best in the business.
Who would you rather start alongside Connor Goldson?
It remains to be seen who Gerrard picks this weekend against Dundee United. But given the way Helander has performed recently, it is almost impossible to drop him.
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