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Gerrard keen to welcome back star men ahead of new season

 

By Andy Newport

Steven Gerrard expects Scott Arfield and Nikola Katic to hit the ground running when the pair finally touch down to rejoin their Rangers team-mates.

Defender Katic is due to link up with Gerrard's side at their pre-season base in Portugal this week following Croatia's exit from the European Under-21 Championships.

Midfielder Arfield also has commitments skippering Canada at the Gold Cup, where his side face Haiti in Saturday's quarter-final showdown.

But there will be no settling in period once the 30-year-old does clock on, with Gerrard insisting both Arfield and Katic will be expected to take part in the gruelling sessions he has prepared.

Both men were given some early time off ahead of Rangers' final game of last season and Gerrard believes they will have had enough rest and recuperation to ensure they are ready to go when next month's Europa League qualifiers come around.

The Ibrox boss, whose side kick-off their campaign against Progres Niederkorn, said: "The reason they weren't available for Kilmarnock was to try and benefit from that decision now.

"Katic will come straight back in. He had his three-week holiday before his tournament, and the same with Scott.

"They will have slightly different programmes to the others and it will be a lot easier for them to pick up the speed and integrate."

The latecomers will find five new faces in the Rangers dressing room when they do return.

Gerrard has signed Jake Hastie, Jordan Jones, Sheyi Ojo, Greg Stewart and George Edmundson this summer.

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