Nikola Katic details Giovanni van Bronckhorst discussion as departed Rangers defender admits he could’ve solved defensive issues

The Croatian defender endured a turbulent time in Glasgow having been a regular under Steven Gerrard before suffering a serious knee injury.

Nikola Katic claims he could have helped address the current defensive crisis at Rangers had he not been shown the door during the summer transfer window.

The Croatian centre-back completed a permanent move to Swiss champions FC Zurich for an undisclosed fee last month after Ibrox manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst decided he wasn’t part of his long-term plans.

His departure ended a four-year spell in Glasgow, during which he spent a lengthy period on the sidelines recovering from an ACL injury.

Nikola Katic and Glenn Middleton are surplus to requirements at Rangers. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

Katic - one of Steven Gerrard’s first signings as Rangers boss - believes that he did not get a chance to prove himself after returning to the club under a new management team.

Rangers have shipped 16 goals in all competitions so far this season including an alarming EIGHT in their last two fixtures - losing 4-0 to both Celtic (Scottish Premiership) and Ajax (Champions League) and have fallen five points behind their city rivals in the title race.

The 25-year-old fan favourite reckons he could have made a difference, with a high percentage of goals conceded coming from set piece failings but confirmed his request for advice was ignored by the Dutchman’s backroom staff.

He explained in an interview with The Athletic: “They said we were to come back at maybe 80 per cent of our fitness but I was obsessed with my body fat as I wanted to come back 100 per cent.

“Day one was about me trying to prove myself to Van Bronckhorst. It’s nothing bad but I felt I didn’t get a chance as we didn’t communicate.

“I asked his coaches whether they could walk me through their requests and what they expect from their defenders, but I didn’t think they were that interestes and I never got that information.

“I played three 45 minutes in pre-season and I was happy with how I did. I made one bad pass against Sunderland but it wasn’t anything big, I expected to play against West Ham and Tottenham at Ibrox and was hoping everyone would be looking at me again, but I was the only defender who didn’t play.

“I was really disappointed, so I went to his office and asked him just to tell me what was going on as I didn’t think I deserved that after getting injured and trying to get back to help Rangers.

“If I played bad then fair enough, but at least give me a chance. He said he liked a different type of defender.

Niko Katic feels he never got a chance at Rangers under Giovanni van Bronckhorst. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

“I’m not Messi but I see the defenders doing typical defender things, not anything special or making the last pass. If someone is Virgil van Dijk then fair enough, but it is hard to watch the number of goals they are conceding right now as I believe I could have helped - especially with the goals from set pieces.

“It’s Scotland, so a lot of the away games are physical no matter what you do and you need to have defenders to defend.”

Katic, who fell further down the pecking order at Rangers following the arrival of John Souttar and Ben Davies, also revealed he had a conversation with sporting director Ross Wilson before his exit, predicting his return to the club in the future.

He stated: “I will always have a connection to Rangers. I said to Ross Wilson on my last day that I’ll see him in two years when he buys me back!

“Rangers has shaped me as a person so I will follow every game still and Borna (Barisic) is one of my best friends.

“I still think I could help the club but the manager had a different opinion and I respect his decision. That’s football.”