Connor Goldson will dedicate himself to the task of plugging the gaps in defence which proved so damaging to Rangers last season.
The 25-year-old central defender completed his move to the Ibrox club yesterday, becoming the sixth summer recruit since the appointment of Steven Gerrard as manager. Goldson has signed a four-year contract after Rangers agreed a fee in the region of £3 million with Brighton. He is poised to form a new partnership at the heart of Rangers’ defence with Croatian international Nikola Katic, who joined from Slaven Belupo on Tuesday. That was a hugely problematic department of the side for Rangers last season as they finished third in the Scottish Premiership, 12 points behind champions Celtic. No team in the top flight bettered the tally of 76 goals netted by Rangers but they conceded 50, more than any other side in the top six. Goldson has made it clear his priority will be to address that issue.
“The key to a defender’s job, no matter how good you are or think you are on the ball, at the end of the day all I want to do is keep a clean sheet,” said Goldson. “And that is the message I will be getting across to whoever is playing with me. I am tall, I am athletic, I can move, I am quite quick and I like to think I am good on the ball, I always want the ball and I want to play. That has been drilled into me from a young age and even more so at Brighton. At the same time I want to keep a clean sheet and that is my job. I think I am a leader and can lead a back four or back five or whatever the manager ends up playing.”
Goldson joined Brighton from Shrewsbury Town in 2015 but his career stalled in February 2017 when he was diagnosed with a heart condition which required surgery. He made a full recovery but then found first team appearances limited as Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk had established themselves as Brighton’s first choice central defensive pairing.
“I probably could have stayed at Brighton,” added Goldson. “They weren’t really desperate for me to go but I think at this stage, at 25 years old and with the operation I obviously had, it just made me hungrier to want to play football. That put a lot of things in perspective and one of those things was to just play as much as I could. Every time I have been given a chance to play I have always done well. I am a player who has always played, apart from in the last two years. Those two years have been tough for me personally but now I have the opportunity to get back playing every week and show what I can do. I am delighted to join Rangers, even though it hasn’t taken that long to sign it seems like it has taken forever. I am just pleased to finally get it done and to get the chance to showcase my abilities at a massive club with a huge fanbase.”
Boyhood Liverpool supporter Goldson, who will join his new team-mates when they travel to Spain for a pre-season training camp on Sunday, rejected other options to remain in England as he pursued the opportunity to work under the Anfield club’s former captain Gerrard.
“Steven Gerrard had a massive influence on my decision to sign,” he told rangers.co.uk. “When he first spoke to me I didn’t really know what I was doing, there were a few clubs interested in me in the Championship and I didn’t really know what to do. We carried on speaking and he has been brilliant with me, he said I could speak to him whenever I wanted to or whatever I was thinking. It got to the point where I sat down with my family and I thought it was the right decision to make for myself and for them. For us all to be happy and for me to be playing football every week at a huge club.
“Now he is my manager and I want to be able to learn from him as a coach and as a manager. I don’t really think there is going to be time for me to be star struck and be in awe of him. We have a lot of work to do this season, we want to improve the team and we want to see how far we can go.”
Rangers forward Joe Dodoo has joined Blackpool on a season-long loan, while winger Michael O’Halloran is set for a move to Australia with Melbourne City.