Why John Lundstram Might Be Crucial For The Rangers This Season

why-john-lundstram-could-be-vital-to-rangers-this-season




When emotions were running high after a poor performance against Dundee United and a red card against Alashkert, some Rangers fans wrote off Lundstram’s Ibrox career before we’d seen the whole player.

After two consecutive man-of-the-match performances as a holding midfielder, you begin to question if Lundstram was playing out of position the entire time…

Sheffield United

Given the Rangers’ rotational adjustments and ups and downs this season, the most accurate assessment of Lundstram may be based on his final full season.

This happened in the Premier League, and United was relegated at the bottom of the standings. Lundstram played central midfield on the right side and, like the other ten players, struggled to rediscover his best form.

Lundstram spent a lot of time up and down the right wing despite being a central midfielder on paper, as the heat map above demonstrates. Last season, though, this job didn’t bring out the best in him. He didn’t score, but he did miss two excellent chances.

Why John Lundstram Could Be Vital To Rangers This Season

He only has 0.9 tackles per 90 snaps and 0.5 interceptions per 90 snaps in his confrontational role. To summarize, Lundstram’s job demanded a wide range of traits, all of which he lacked, yet this does not rule out the possibility that he possesses them under the proper circumstances.

However, the numbers from last season do not convey the complete story. Given his participation in Sheffield United’s amazing 2019/20 campaign, Chris Wilder and Paul Heckingbottom have every reason to expect Lundstram to succeed in this role.

The heat maps for the two seasons were quite similar, with a strong emphasis on the right-hand side once again. His numbers in 2019/20, on the other hand, were radically different from those in 20/21.

Lundstram had five goals and three assists, as well as eight great opportunities and 1.3 shots per 90 minutes. This just goes to demonstrate how the people around a player with obvious potential can radically affect their game.

Change in position

Because of John Lundstram’s terrible start to the season, it’s possible that the Rangers’ squad around him doesn’t share his desire to play him in the RCM role. Lundstram tries to do too much, in my opinion, as someone who has watched every game he has played this season.

Hagi, Aribo, Kent, and Kamara are all better at forcing opportunities than Lundstram, therefore the Rangers don’t need another creative player. What they lack is a player in the mold of Ryan Jack or Steven Davis.

Someone who can shield the backline, especially in Europa League games, may make the difference between a win and a loss, but given Jack has been hampered by injuries of late, and 36-year-old Steven Davis isn’t getting any younger, Rangers could use another player who matches that description.

Lundstram appears to be a perfect fit for the role based on what we’ve seen so far in those two games. The Liverpool-born midfielder had his greatest game of the season against Dundee, and I am confident we would have witnessed a different result if it weren’t for Lundstram defending the backline.

Lundstram, who played as a holding midfielder, kept and distributed the ball proficiently, with an 86 percent pass accuracy (one of Davis’ main strengths), while also making two tackles and winning 5/7 ground duels.

Conclusion

I believe a change in position for Lundstram was unavoidable after far too many terrible performances in a row, from his United days to his Rangers days. Davis, as previously stated, is getting older and will find it difficult to play as regularly as he did last season.

For the time being, I believe Lundstram is more than capable of taking his place. His skills are distinct from Davis’ and he might prosper in this club if we see the best of him.




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