Filip Helander has been added to Rangers’ squad list for the upcoming Europa League tie against Legia Warsaw, according to a report by the Daily Record.
The Sweden international enforcer was originally omitted from the list, but Brandon Barker has since withdrawn, allowing the £3.5m summer addition to come into the set-up.
As noted by the report, UEFA rules allow clubs to make two changes to their group of players up until 11pm the day prior to the match.
The original decision to leave Helander was a bit of a strange one as many would have felt the former Bologna centre-back would have been a key member of the side – especially considering the magnitude of the upcoming Europa League clash.
The decision to leave him out also came after comments the Swede made following the game against East Fife, where he made it clear he was looking forward to the European matches.
Quoted by Football Scotland, he said: “I’ve been training hard. Obviously, we’ve been on a roll of good results, so I’ve had to wait for my opportunity to come into the team.
“I was delighted to get my chance. I hope to play every game, especially the big matches we have coming up in Europe and at home. It’s always the manager’s decision but am I ready for these game? Absolutely.
“The stadium is full for every game and it’s nice to play in. You want to play in the European games, and I have played a lot in Europe before coming here. Everyone wants to feature in these games, and hopefully we can get a good result against Warsaw.”
There would be a case as to whether he would be included in the first-team picture on Thursday night as both Connor Goldson and Nikola Katic have been excelling at the back – something that Steven Gerrard has admitted to recently (The Herald) – but leaving him out of the squad list did look rather perplexing.
It would seem any further potential questions about why Helander was left out of the original squad might be avoided now that he has been included – especially if the Light Blues do not achieve the result they are planning for.
It would appear rather ludicrous to leave a player of the 26-year-old’s quality and experience out of the side for such an important tie considering that the defender, himself, noted that he has been a part of many European nights.
He might not be fully fit after having only just made his debut for the Scottish Premiership outfit against East Fife in the Scottish League Cup, in which he also scored (WhoScored), but having him in the dressing room in Warsaw could end up being beneficial to the whole club and their chances of coming away with an advantage heading into the second-leg.
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