Steven Gerrard says Filip Helander won't make Rangers debut for 'a good few weeks'
Defender may feature in friendlies but is "three/three and a half weeks behind".
By James Simpson
Last Updated: 17/07/19 3:22pm
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard says new signing Filip Helander won't make his competitive debut "for a good few weeks yet".
On Saturday, centre-back Helander joined Rangers from Bologna in a deal thought to be worth in the region of £3.2-£3.5m and was the club's eighth addition of the transfer window.
Rangers' competitive campaign is already underway and they play St Joseph's in the second leg of the Europa League first qualifying round at Ibrox on Thursday evening after a 4-0 win in the first match.
The start of the Scottish Premiership season is just 18 days away and the second qualifying round begins at the end of the month, but Gerrard won't rush his new signing into action.
"He's being pushed very strongly so I'm sure he's got heavy, tired legs at the moment," Gerrard said. But I think Filip is on day three or four of preseason, so he's three/three and a half weeks behind the group.
"I'll take my time integrating him into the serious games but you will see Filip in the coming friendlies.
"We'll try and get some games and minutes into his legs but I don't expect to see him in serious games for a good few weeks yet."
Gerrard confirmed Scott Arfield will feature in tomorrow's squad after missing time with the team to represent Canada in the Gold Cup.
Rangers have friendlies against Blackburn and Derby lined up on June 21 and June 28, and the Europa League second qualifying round legs take place on July 25 and August 1.
The Gers travel to Rugby Park to take on Kilmarnock in their first Scottish Premiership game of the season on August 4, live on Sky Sports.
Boyd: Rangers a totally different team this season
Ex-Rangers striker Kris Boyd believes Gerrard's summer additions have completely changed the complexion of the team.
"I think they have gone about their business very quietly this summer. Maybe in previous summers there have been numerous statements that have not helped the club," Boyd told Sky Sports.
"This season, they have had a lot of games now, they players are gelling together. And I think the biggest thing for Rangers now is the competition is there for places again.
The eight signings - Helander, George Edmundson, Joe Aribo, Steven Davis, Greg Stewart, Jake Hastie, Jordan Jones and Liverpool loanee Sheyi Ojo - have left Gerrard calling his squad 'bloated', but Boyd said Rangers will need a large group to compete with Celtic for the title.
He said: "Maybe before, you went and grabbed players and brought them in. This season, I think it's been done pretty quickly, the transfer business. They've got players in and they look a totally different team this season for me.
"I think the strength and depth will be crucial to Rangers.
"The first Old Firm game is at Ibrox and if Rangers can get off to a good start, I wouldn't be surprised if it's a close title race this season."