Belfast Telegraph

Rangers new boy Nikola Katic tipped to make mark in Croatia defence

 

By Paul Burrows

New Rangers signing Nikola Katic has been tipped to challenge Dejan Lovren for a place in the heart of Croatia's defence in the coming years.

Steven Gerrard signed the 21-year-old from Croatian top-flight side Slaven Belupo last week on a four-year contract amid interest from Russian giants Spartak Moscow.

Slaven's sporting director Zvonimir Simunovic believes Katic will be a great signing for Rangers and his style of play should see him add to the one cap he has already won for his country.

"Nikola is very strong in challenges, excellent on the ground and even better in the air," said Simunovic.

"He's also fast for such a strong defender and quite often we played him in central midfield.

"Vedran Corluka and Dejan Lovren have been top class for Croatia for a long time but Nikola can get close to them if he keeps developing.

"I am sure as a Rangers player he'll be closer to becoming a regular national team player. He didn't make the World Cup squad this time but he has been a regular member of the under-21s."

Meanwhile, Croatia have reportedly told striker Nikola Kalinic to leave the squad having refused to come on as a replacement in the win over Nigeria.

The 30-year old AC Milan loanee was asked to get ready to come on by manager Zlatko Dalic but refused, and has now been asked to return home.

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