Rangers' John Lundstram compared to England icon as former boss reveals he considered January move

Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder has admitted he considered making a move for Rangers midfielder John Lundstram during the January transfer window.

Wilder worked with Lundstram at Sheffield United where the pair enjoyed great success including a top 10 finish in the English Premier League in season 2019-20 after winning promotion from the Championship.

Lundstram made the switch to Ibrox last summer under freedom of contract but looked to be on his way out after being frozen out of the first team following the appointment of Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

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However, the 28-year-old now appears to have won the Dutchman over with a series of strong performances contributing to an extended run in the starting line-up after winning his place in the side.

John Lundstram in action for Rangers during the 1-0 win over Aberdeen. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Wilder heaped praise on his former player, comparing him to ex-England international Bryan Robson, and admitted he was close to making a move for him during the winter window.

“I thought about going for John again in January when he wasn’t playing," Wilder told the Daily Record.

“There would have been many admirers down here trying to get him back. But he’s been patient, he’s back in the team and both John and Rangers are getting the rewards now.

"He could have played as a No.6 for us at Sheffield United as well but he was probably more of an eight, a box-to-box guy. He has great energy to get up and down the pitch.

“In the modern era we get caught up in this argument: ‘Is he a six or an eight?’

“I just think he’s a really good player. What’s wrong with that?

“He can play in a two or a three in midfield and he’s old-school. He’s like a throwback to Robson.

“He can pass it, he can head it, he can tackle and he can get in the box to score. He can do everything.

“But we seem to have got away from this notion of just being a good, proper midfield player. That’s what John is."

Wilder revealed he also reached out to the midfielder after watching him score in Rangers' 4-2 Europa League play-off first leg win over Borussia Dortmund in Germany.

“I watched his goal against Dortmund and it was brilliant. I messaged John after the game because he’s such a good lad.

“Going to a club like Rangers is the ultimate test in such a pressurised situation. But I’m not surprised that he’s now doing well. He’s athletic, a good passer and a real modern-day footballer.

“At Rangers the expectation is to hit the ground running. When that doesn’t happen and you’re out of the team it can be difficult for a new player.

“But John is now getting a run, like he did with us, and he feels like a big part of it. That’s why you’re seeing the best of him.

“It was very similar when he came to Sheffield United.”

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