Rangers defender Nikola Katic has opened up on being dropped by Steven Gerrard earlier in the season, revealing it took him time to come to terms with it all.
The young Croatian was a regular alongside Connor Goldson in the initial stages of Gerrard’s reign at the club but was unceremoniously dropped for Joe Worrall, eventually failing to start a match for over two months between November and January.
However, he came back into the team at the weekend and was again selected against Cowdenbeath last night, with the manager appearing to again favour the 22-year-old.
It’s been a difficult process for him, but the player admits it’s all been a motivating ploy from the manager.
As quoted by The Scottish Sun, Katic said of the situation:
To be honest, I wasn’t happy. For the first two months, I played every single game. Then suddenly I was out.
But I was thinking when I saw the squad: ‘ok, I will be in the next time’, but when I arrived the second day at Ibrox and saw everything, the fans, it was really hard for me.
That’s what gave me the motivation to push more and more every single day and deserve the chance to get a game again. I thought a lot about what went wrong, what had happened.
But I talked a lot with the staff and I talked with the gaffer also. They explained to me that it was a big club and that he also had in his career a few times when his form came down.
I’m a young player at a big club in a strong league so everything was good. I just wanted to train hard and be ready for the chance.
With Connor Goldson currently injured, Joe Worrall losing form and Gareth McAuley looking well off the pace, the likelihood is that Katic will get more and more games in the second half of the season.
Fans are keen for Gerrard to invest time in his development, believing the defender has the attributes to be a long-term option in the position.
Hopefully we now see him get an extended run in the team, see his form improve to the levels of the summer and put down his previous exclusion as a perfect bit of man motivation from the manager.