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Depleted Rangers starting XI sends ominous message to Ibrox high-earner

If Rangers’ win over Livingston was about getting three points amid a list of major absences, then the starting XI against the Lions sends an ominous message to John Lundstram.

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst faced off against David Martindale without a host of first-teamers as Joe Aribo, Alfredo Morelos, Ryan Kent, Filip Helander, Leon Balogun and Steven Davis all missed out.

Admitting after the 1-0 victory– won by Scott Arfield’s wonderful lob – that this is the reason why Rangers started with two defensive midfielders, the absence of John Lundstram in the starting XI sends an ominous message to the Liverpudlian midfielder.

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Likeable though John Lundstram may be, the midfielder has struggled at times at an expectant Ibrox and was once again benched as James Sands took to the side.

The USA international is only at the beginning of his Ibrox career and his inclusion was a surprise choice for a number of reasons.

Not only did it provide defensive cover we almost certainly did not need alongside Glen Kamara – asked to operate a little higher to little reward – but the game passed the young American by at times.

Still settling into life in Glasgow, Sands opted to play it simple and failed to leave a proper impression on the match as he eases his way into the side.

John Lundstram left out for Rangers v Livingston

His inclusion was even stranger given John Lundstram – someone who has operated in the #8 role throughout his career and thusly could’ve provided more urgency – was on the bench.

We’re not saying John Lundstram is a bad player, in fact against Stirling Albion the big man absolutely strolled it, it’s just that many get the impression van Bronckhorst doesn’t fancy him.

If Lundstram can’t get into the team at home to Livingston amid a host of injuries with Ryan Jack, Scott Arfield and Steven Davis to come back into the side, can you blame them?

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images,

So as one summer Steven Gerrard signing in Juninho Bacuna prepares to move down south, perhaps the ex-Sheffield United midfielder could be next.

One of the club’s highest earners, John Lundstram has been linked with a reunion with a former manager in the English Championship.

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