Skip to main content

Gerrard heaps praise on ‘leader’ Helander

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard hailed the leadership qualities of Filip Helander after a big week in the Swede’s Rangers career.

Gerrard admitted Helander had “arrived” as a Rangers player after a commanding display in the Europa League draw in Porto on Thursday night.

And the former Bologna centre-back followed that by heading a late winner in a 2-1 victory over Motherwell at Ibrox on Sunday.

Gerrard said: “He has shown great leadership. He had a little bit of an ankle issue before the international break and never played for Sweden so I think he has had time to rest that up.

“I decided to go with (Niko) Katic at Hearts to deal with the real big physicality of (Uche) Ikpeazu and then use Fil’s leadership and experience away at Porto, which I knew was going to be more of a technical game, and one that needed experience.

“He did ever so well for us in Portugal and he has stepped up and been a leader for us again. So I’m delighted with what he has done this week.”

Helander admits he is feeling better fitness wise.

“I have been here for a while but of course you want to  play and contribute to the team,” he said.

“I have had a lot of problems last month with my ankle and now it is starting to feel a lot better. That could help, I don’t know.”

Helander’s goal completed a comeback as Rangers were pushed all the way by a competitive Motherwell side.

“It was a fantastic feeling. I was on the ground getting smashed by a guy so I just saw the ball was in the back of the goal. It was fantastic.”