GVB pulled out more tactical shrewdness last night as Rangers earned another fine result under him with a good draw in Lyon, but it was what he did with John Lundstram which really stood out.
As regulars will know, Ibrox Noise was heavily critical of the ex-manager’s inability to use Lundstram correctly.
As we started seeing the ex-Sheffield man being used alone in the 6, his performances improved massively, but he then suffered neglect as the former manager put him closer to the 7, alongside and in front of Steven Davis.
This made Lundstram look rotten again, frankly, as he struggled to play that more central and advanced slot, especially alongside Davo.
With Lundstram starting last night, we could have been forgiven for fearing the outcome and another night of fans slagging off the new summer signing just because he’d again become the scapegoat.
Not a bit of it.
Yet another quick piece of understanding from the new manager has revealed to him that Lundstram’s best slot is indeed in the 6, but he can also SWAP with Davo so both take turns to go forward and to remain retreated respectively.
Starting as the deep midfielder on the right, Lundstram had a fine night, making the most passes outwith of defence, and managing to nail a spectacular 8 of his 10 attempts at long passes.
Defensively he was outstanding, tackling plenty alongside an interception or two.
He showed he is a serious bet for the future in that slot, with Davo’s time coming to an end over the next year or two potentially, and when the NI midfielder came on, it didn’t hurt Lundstram as, mentioned early, both took turn about with who took the 6 position and who went forward.
And that understanding from GVB? Not shoving Lundstram in a slot he just couldn’t thrive in, and keeping him there, but instead grasping how he best plays and accommodating that.
As we say, Gio is all about using the tools he has at his disposal and building with them, rather than square pegs in round holes as we’ve seen from far too many Rangers managers in the past, not just SG.
And Lundstram could be a big beneficiary of this going forward.