Noel Whelan has suggested Filip Helander is under threat of being axed from the Rangers side after “schoolboy errors” against Benfica on Thursday.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Leeds and Aberdeen striker insisted there was no excusing the 27-year-old’s sloppy performance in Portugal.
The Sweden international made two glaring errors which led to Benfica scoring, while a pass split open the heart of the defence for the home side’s injury-time equaliser.
With senior mainstay Connor Goldson also named in Thursday’s starting XI, Leon Balogun and Calvin Bassey, who can both play as centre-halves, both watched on from the bench.
However, Whelan believes that Steven Gerrard may consider bringing one of his alternative options into the side in place of Helander in the Gers’ coming games.
Asked if Helander was at risk of being axed after his disappointing display, Whelan told Football Insider: “Yeah, absolutely. You know, you can let people off certain times for mistakes, but when they’re blatant and schoolboy errors then it hurts a little bit more.
“You know that you could have stopped it, should be defended probably. At the minute, he’s (Gerrard) getting everything right but last night.
“That would have been a massive win and statement in that league group, it really would. That would have put them in such a strong position.
“They still are, don’t get me wrong, but to go to Benfica and beat a team of that size would have given them some hell of a boost.”
Helander has started 12 of his 13 appearances for Rangers this season, while he has been left as an unused substitute a further five times.
In other Rangers news, Gerrard has been told to start a barely-seen teenager after Auchenhowie reveal.