MORE than six-months on from what proved to be a season-ending injury, Filip Helander is back in full training and is raring to go ahead of the new season.
The Swedish defender hasn’t played since December 8, but was close to a comeback when last season ended prematurely in March.
Along with his teammates, he’s spent the last fortnight hard at work at the Rangers Training Centre, and took time out to speak exclusively to RangersTV on his return.
“It feels fantastic,” he began. “I have been looking forward to it and it has been nice to get going. Of course, when you’re not on the pitch you can’t help your team, so it has been tough every game day, but I am a professional football player and I just tried to do my best in every training session, even though I’m injured.
“So it hasn’t been that difficult, but now I feel strong and ready to go.
“I was back with the team just before the lockdown, so it has been a long time since I last played a game.
“But I have been in Sweden during the lockdown so I have had the possibility to train there and have some football there back at home.”
Prior to his injury, Helander was in sparkling form for the Light Blues both domestically and on the European stage.
He’s aiming to push on even further this coming season, and continued: “When I arrived, I hadn’t had a pre-season so I was a bit behind everyone else, then when I started to play, both October and November I think I played well and then I got injured.
“Hopefully I can get to an even higher level now.”
In-terms of pushing the club onto an even higher level, Gers have already secured the signings of Ianis Hagi, Calvin Bassey and Jon McLaughlin.
Helander has been thrilled to see Gers doing business early-on, and said: “It’s a great signal from the club. As a player, you always want your team to be as strong as possible and that is what we are looking for every day in training when there are new players coming in to make us a stronger team.”
There are still five weeks of hard work to go for the Rangers players prior to them returning to competitive action, hopefully on the weekend of August 1.
Helander is convinced he and his teammates will be ready to go, and added: “Absolutely, but I think that has been going on in the players’ heads for a long time now. I’m very confident [the team will be ready].
“Of course, there is still a long way to go, but whenever it is going to be, there is no excuse to not be ready and we are all looking forward to it.”