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Rangers boss Steven Gerrard’s stout defence of his ‘leader’ Connor Goldson

© Craig Foy / SNS GroupGers gaffer Steven Gerrard is puzzled why some cannot see the strengths of defender Connor Goldson
Gers gaffer Steven Gerrard is puzzled why some cannot see the strengths of defender Connor Goldson

Steven Gerrard has given a massive vote of confidence to defender Connor Goldson.

The Rangers boss can’t understand why the Englishman’s positive contribution to his team is often overlooked.

Some supporters have questioned the former Brighton man’s ability at times, but he is part of an Ibrox defence that is yet to concede a goal in domestic football.

His manager maintains he has never doubted the 27-year-old.

Gerrard said: “I don’t think Connor gets the credit he deserves – and that’s not just this season, that’s looking at the big picture.

“He’s been robust, he’s always available and has rarely missed a training session.

“He’s in fantastic shape, he’s a leader and so professional.

“He has made a couple of individual errors that, I think, people hold him to.

“But he’s so important to this team. I can’t express how important he is to us.

“He’s been consistent during the pre-season, but because Leon Balogun has come in with strong performances, Connor’s have gone under the radar – only with other people, not with me.”

© Craig Williamson / SNS Group
Rangers defender Leon Balogun

With Balogun out with a thigh injury, it will be Goldson and A.N. Other defender taking on Livingston hit-man Lyndon Dykes today.

It’s mostly likely to be George Edmundson.

Gerrard is a fan of the way Goldson conducts himself, and says that’s something his team-mates also appreciate.

He said: “He’s in my leadership group, and I see him as a captain.

“We’ve got big trust in him. I don’t know why he doesn’t get the credit he deserves, but that’s only on the outside.

“His team-mates value him a lot, as do the staff and the club. That’s the only thing that really matters in terms of Connor’s thinking.

“We’re right behind him, and we know he’s doing a fantastic job for us.”

Pre-season preparations weren’t ideal for many clubs.

Rangers, however, managed to get matches against top teams in France and results seem to suggest they have benefited from that.

Other sides had to make do with bounce games at home.

Gerrard enjoyed his team getting the chance to go away, but says the really important work was done at home.

He went on: “The players are really focused, and we’ve put a lot of work in at the training ground throughout pre-season.

“Having a longer pre-season certainly helped in terms of our organisation.

“If you look at us over two years, it’s been very rare to have training days where you can work on tactics, in and out of possession.

“Off the top of my head, we’ve probably only had between 20 and 30 days to really work on our shape.

“We were either on a recovery day, or game day minus one where it has to be light.

“So the time has been really valuable to work on our distances, where we need to be defensively and different scenarios in games.”

Connor Goldson

Gerrard isn’t concerned that his team’s fine form will have teams around Europe having a closer look at his players.

He said: “We see it as a compliment that people are looking at our players, that individuals are playing at a good level.

“Normally that means the team is playing well. I’ve got no problem with it.

“The reality is that there’s no pressure here to sell.

“That gives me confidence that if anyone was to leave it would be for a fee that suits us.

“Borna Barisic isn’t for sale. That’s the reality of it. He’s signed a long-term deal and we’re very happy with him.

“He’s very settled and he’s playing some of the best football of his career.

“But we all know every single player has a price. That’ll never change. That’s just the way it is.

“We don’t want a sale. We want to keep the player and move forward with him.

“But if someone was to prise him away, it would cost an awful lot of money.

“I wouldn’t put a figure on it because when you don’t want to sell anyone, there’s no need.”