Filip Helander: Rangers boss explains the 'hard' decision he's had to make on Swedish defender

Swedish international defender Filip Helander is set to make his comeback for Rangers in their Scottish Cup tie at Annan Athletic on Saturday.

But the 28-year-old’s return to fitness came just too late for manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst to register him in Ibrox club’s squad for their Europa League knockout round play-off tie against Borussia Dortmund later this month.

Helander has been sidelined since undergoing surgery on the knee injury he suffered against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park last September. He is now back in training but van Bronckhorst opted to leave him out of the list he had to submit to UEFA last week. Rangers travel to Germany for the first leg against the Bundesliga giants on February 17 with the second leg at Ibrox seven days later.

“It was a hard decision to leave him out of the European squad because we had only 23 players we could put on the list,” said van Bronckhorst.

Rangers defender Filip Helander is closing in on a return to action after being sidelined since last September by a knee injury. (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images)

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“At that time, I chose the players who were fit to play games and also players who can play in different roles. Filip is really close to getting minutes again. Hopefully we can involve him in the weekend so he starts playing and then will also be involved in the squad in the league and the cup competition.

"The only competition he cannot play is in Europe. Once he makes his minutes, he will be back in the squad as well. It’s looking quite positive for him. He will be back playing really soon.”

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