Powerful, eye for goal, and that Jack Grealish tackle: Insight into Rangers midfielder John Lundstram
Gers fans – and ex-players – are pleased with the latest recruit to Ibrox but Sheffield United fans have been quick to point to the indifferent end to the midfielder’s Bramall Lane career, after he had taken time to win them over by breaking into the Blades team and helping equal a club record.
How it started
A £700,000 signing from Oxford, the midfielder’s bursts into the box were a big feature of the Chris Wilder side that surged into the top ten of the Premier League before finishing ninth in season 2020-21.
Promotion into the English top flight proved to be the making of the midfielder, however, Lundstram had to win over the Blades support when he first stepped into the newly-promoted Championship team after midfielder Paul Coutts’ 2017 leg-break.
Coutts had been integral to the team’s style, taking the ball from defence and dictating play, but it wasn’t until Lundstram was able to become “his own man” in the EPL that he won over the Sheffield support.
"He suffered at the start because everyone was looking for him to be someone else. Coutts had been such a big part of how United played, everyone expected him to play the same way – but that's not his game,” explained Danny Hall, Sheffield United writer at our sister title, The Star. “Once he got the chance to be his own man he did really well – he has all the attributes needed to play a good level.”
Hall added: “He is possibly the most two-footed player I’ve seen. He could ping cross-field passes with his left foot as well as anyone else would do with their right. He was at his best with a licence to get forward and had a knack with those late runs.
“Before his Premier League season, his highlight in a Sheffield United shirt was probably a tackle on Jack Grealish. United beat Villa 4-1 and it got a bigger cheer than any of the goals – Lundstram piled into him.
"Then he had his Premier League season and really took to it.”
How it ended
A move to Rangers has long been mooted. Lundstram’s deal ran out last summer but United used a clause to extend until this year. Wilder stood by his midfielder despite the ongoing contractual uncertainty, but lined up a replacement in £20m Sander Berge. By the time relegation was confirmed and Wilder had left, Premier League poster-boy Lundstram had become a target for unhappy fans.
"It's been a strange up-and-down career for him because it took so long to actually get into the team, by the time he did his contract was beginning to wind down,” added Hall.
Hall added: “He’s been round a decent-sized club before, coming through the ranks at Everton, so a big-club environment is not new to him.”
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