Rangers manager Steven Gerrard should recall towering centre-back, Filip Helander, for the upcoming Europa League clash against Benfica.

Gerrard’s men take on the Portuguese giants under the lights at Ibrox on Thursday night with progression to the Round of 32 on the cards.

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Steven Gerrard is looking to guide his side into the knockout stages for the second consecutive season. (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

The Gers are currently on seven points and if Standard Liege defeat Lech Poznan in Belgium, a further three would be enough to see the Glasgow club through to the knockout stages with two games to spare.

In such an important game, the manager must go with his best defence, and that means bringing Helander back into the side.

The big Swede had arguably his worst game in a Rangers shirt against this opposition in Lisbon earlier in the month, but that was a rare blip from a high-quality player who has largely excelled in European competition since his arrival from Bologna in the summer of 2019.

 

He was the go-to partner for Connor Goldson in the Europa League last season and the only game in which the Gers conceded at Ibrox during the group stages was the one his missed through injury.

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Helander starred as Rangers kept clean sheets against Feyenoord and Porto, while he was also excellent against the latter opposition in their own back yard.

Filip Helander should be recalled to the Rangers playing XI vs Benfica. (Photo by Soccrates/Getty Images)

He isn’t blessed with great pace and perhaps had Darwin Nuñez been available for this one, Leon Balogun would have been the better option.

Yet, with the Uruguayan sidelined after testing positive for Covid-19 [Publico], Gerrard should be turning to a defender who tends to thrive on the big stage.

Benfica are set to bring a much-weakened squad to Ibrox due to injuries and positive tests but they will still have quality players in their ranks and Rangers will be more secure at the back with Helander in the side.

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