There’s no denying that John Lundstram hasn’t managed to live up to his performance level of last season’s Europa League run but with Ryan Jack out injured it seems a certainty that he’ll start in the Scottish Cup Semi-Final. He has a very important job to do in that he’ll probably be placed in front of the defence, either in a two in 4231 or as the deepest midfielder in a 4312 set up.
As much as it hasn’t been a good season performance wise, he can’t take all of the blame for that. Out of necessity he’s had to play as a number six for Rangers quite often this season and that isn’t his natural game. He’s at his best when he can break up the play and drive forward as the number eight, that’s where he shone last season but he hasn’t had the chance to play in that role, mostly due to injuries, this term.
Today represents a chance for him to change the narrative on his ability, fans once proclaimed him to be the ‘best on earth’ could the Semi-Final be the beginning of his redemption? Lundstram had a role to play in last years semi-final which he may well be asked to play again, man marking Callum McGregor. If you can stop him then Celtic don’t tick the same way and it was apparent that day and also at Ibrox in January when Kent had the role of man marking the Celtic captain.
He needs a big performance to prove to the Rangers fans that he deserves his place in the team and prove to Michael Beale he deserves to stay beyond his current contract. This could be the game which decides his future at the club and he’s shown previously that he can step it up for the big occasion. Think back to Dortmund and Leipzig, that’s the John Lundstram that Rangers need today.
If Lundstram can stop McGregor then it gives Rangers a far better chance of coming away with the win. He’s done it previously and he can do it again.
At his best, in the Europa League, last season he was posting these numbers;
- 87% Pass Accuracy
- 64% Long Ball Accuracy
- 1.7 Interceptions Per Game
- 1.6 Tackles Per Game
- 2 Clearances Per Game
- 55% Total Duels Won
- 67% Aerial Duels Won
This is the player Rangers need to show up tomorrow to give them the best chance of securing a place in the Scottish Cup Final. If this version of the English midfielders shows up, alongside Raskin and Cantwell then Rangers have a very strong chance of coming away with a positive result.
This game is make or break for Rangers, but also for John Lundstram. How do you see it panning out? Do you believe he can rekindle his Europa League form for the occasion?