Rangers’ replacement for John Lundstram is already at Ibrox

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Rangers’ replacement for John Lundstram is already at Ibrox
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MAY 25: Dujon Sterling of Rangers arrives at the stadium prior to the Scottish Cup Final match between Celtic and Rangers at Hampden Park on May 25, 2024 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It’s been many, many years since Rangers had any kind of enforcer in midfield. We were duped into thinking the rather wet John Lundstram was that kind of player, but his absence from any impact in Old Firm matches coupled with the lack of overall ‘nasty’ from his game suggests he really was surprisingly powderpuff.

He didn’t once own Callum McGregor or any of Celtic’s midfield, and while he worked hard to press, there was a lack of power or pace from him and in the end he really was a bit of a waste of time.

Enter Dujon Sterling.

With interest in him from old club Chelsea and Thomas Frank’s Brentford lingering, this boy shows power in that slot, he sure has pace, and he has absolutely no fear in getting in among opposition midfields. He has big upper body strength, and he is an impressive passer of the ball.

He is very much the future of Rangers, but he requires to be selected in that defensive midfield zone, and that’s something his manager has failed to do, instead wasting him in all kinds of bizarre slots, none of which Sterling was comfortable in.

Sterling has played 29 times for Philippe Clement, but just 5 of them as defensive midfield. The rest have varied from a left midfield role (not his strength) to utterly absurd left back, right wing, and our favouritely-ridiculous left wing.

The only time Rangers didn’t win with him in DM was at Parkhead, when, again, the manager got a match against Celtic way wrong and screwed up with most decisions, including substitutes.

Otherwise, 4 wins, 3 clean sheets. Telling, isn’t it.

But in the other ridiculous slots Rangers’ (and Sterling) have been all over the place, from throwing him in RW to giving him LB; the position for him is DM but the manager keeps him away from there.

Sterling has already confirmed it’s not only his favourite position, but best position, and he was very happy playing there. Only to then get ripped out of it and ditched into every other position on the pitch aside it.

Can Clement get over himself and build Rangers’ central midfield around Dujon Sterling?

Bear in mind, Sterling was ‘raised’ in midfield, that’s where he played his youth games for Chelsea in, and there’s no coincidence he was nowhere when he went out on loan and ended up at RB. That’s not his natural slot, but it’s where he ended up.

This is why Rangers got him cheap. Chelsea found him surplus at the time, other clubs shunted him into RB, and his stock was pretty low.

From just a handful of appearances in his natural and favoured DM slot, it’s been so clear how good he is there, and how good Rangers could be with him staying there.

But we have so little faith our manager will ever use him there again.

Thing is, a lot of fans are barking the ‘use him at RB, he’s a RB’ patter, unaware he’s actually not.

They want to see him replace captain James Tavernier at RB long term, but we at Ibrox Noise want him in midfield. We’d love Ben Johnson at RB if it’s possible.

But this is getting away from the point, and we do wonder if Clement will ever actually use Sterling in a settled DM position rather than wasting him in every single position on the pitch aside the one he’s actually great in…

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