‘I am just happier, I think it shows’ - John Lundstram opens up on Rangers and James Tavernier revelation

Midfielder says Clement is having galvanising effect on team

Rangers’ transformation under Philippe Clement can perhaps best be delineated through the displays of John Lundstram.

It feels as if the Liverpudlian has somehow discovered an extra half-yard across the Belgian’s three months in charge to rediscover the dynamism that made the midfielder central to the club’s run to the 2022 Europa League final, but appeared to have deserted him in the Ibrox men’s early season struggles under Michael Beale. Across the Clement era that has banked Rangers League Cup success, progress to the Europa League last 16 and re-ignited the title race despite the derby defeat just before the winter shutdown, Lundstram acknowledges he has been able to approach games in a more positive state of mind. And that this has had a real impact in how he has been able to contribute.

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“The manager has just come in and probably given everyone a lift. Not just myself,” said the 29-year-old, desperate to extend his stay in Scotland as his contract now enters its final six months. “He has galvanised the whole building, the staff included. There is a better feeling around the club. I don’t know, I am just happier I think. I think that just shows. When you are happier as a player you put in better performances and that has shown.”

Rangers' John Lundstram says people "don't see" how much work has gone into turning the club's fortunes around in Philippe Clement's three months. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)Rangers' John Lundstram says people "don't see" how much work has gone into turning the club's fortunes around in Philippe Clement's three months. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Rangers' John Lundstram says people "don't see" how much work has gone into turning the club's fortunes around in Philippe Clement's three months. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Not that Rangers’ reversal of fortunes can be simply attributed to players feeling better about themselves. Lundstram stresses that bodies have required constantly to be put on the line, with the unstinting dedication of such as captain James Tavernier in doing so at personal cost, the hidden underpinning of an 18 game run to the turn of the year in which Clement’s side posted 14 wins, two draws and only one loss as they juggled fighting on three fronts. “There is so much work that goes into getting these performances that people don’t see. It is not easy to just keep churning them out,” he said. “People don’t see the little knocks behind the scenes that players are carrying. Tav has been carrying knocks, but people don’t see that. You really do want to get out on the football pitch, even if you are carrying stuff.”

The break will allow Lundstram a trip back to “the ‘Pool to see family” and spend active time with his baby girl and not get it “in the ear from the missus” over simply lying on the couch looking to recover between games. All before the Ibrox squad head to a winter training camp in La Manga, Spain, where Clement will be able to further his mission to step up the base fitness levels of all his players with personalised training schedules.

“It is tough for the lads who have been playing week in, week out because it is just game-recover, game-recover,” Lundstram said. “I think [when he talks about this] he means when it is week to week. At La Manga we can really focus on some individual stuff. We are all at different fitness levels and I am sure he wants to drive that on as well. I think now we can build on individual programmes and fitness levels. I am looking forward to having a little rest and trying to get a base level going. La Manga is not going to be easy, of course, but no one wants it to be.”

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