Rangers midfielder John Lundstram has faced a difficult start to life at Ibrox and when first impressions don’t land in Glasgow, players often struggle to change perceptions.
Coming with solid pedigree from the English Premier League, in a transfer window which focused on retaining players Lundstram stands as the marquee signing.
Fashion Sakala is another big name move who’ll be on big wages but it is the ex-Sheffield United midfielder the scrutiny is currently on.
Criticised early in his Ibrox career for killing the tempo of the match, Lundstram’s flaky start to his Rangers career sees the spotlight instantly on him when he starts a game.
The horror show against Alashkert – where a clearly nervous Lundstram was sent off for two needless yellow cards – have somewhat transformed this into a target.
It’s not entirely fair; the player himself admitted that there would be some adjustment to his game leaving relegation fodder for Championship material in the summer.
But that nervousness has somewhat festered and now a player who the management team would’ve certainly viewed as important to our campaign has split the crowd.
Talk to some Rangers fans and they’ll praise Lundstram for his performance against Lyon at Ibrox.
To them the powerful midfielder looked more composed, more positive and – had it not been for a few feet – a potential hero on the night.
Others – perhaps those who met every square or back pass with a groan – seen the player’s performance differently.
Some view Lundstram as too negative, cumbersome and hesitant, his style limiting Rangers’ game rather than enhancing it.
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard is of the former opinion and praised the player at full-time in the defeat.
“I can’t talk for the crowd, I’m sure there will be enough phone-ins and enough debate to get the fans opinion,” said Gerrard [Rangers].
“I though John’s performance outside a couple of minor things was really strong tonight.
“We put him into the middle of the pitch because we could see Davo getting a little bit tired and fatigued so I think it would be incredibly harsh to point fingers at John’s work.
“Because I think the majority of what he done tonight was really positive from my point of view.”
The Ibrox gaffer would then describe it as Lundstram’s “strongest” performance in a Rangers shirt and challenged the “nonsense” coverage around the player.
🎙️ Steven Gerrard spoke to the media ahead of Sunday's match against Motherwell at Ibrox. pic.twitter.com/XMHuXdcHLN
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) September 17, 2021
Winning over the dissenting voices in the Ibrox crowd will be the biggest challenge of John Lundstram’s career to date and only by putting in performances can he do this.
But what is clear is that Lundstram will get that opportunity and that it’s up to him to overcome the mental and physical hurdles associated with making it at Ibrox.
Meanwhile, Rangers fans have been laughing at the fall-out from the news two ex-Celtic stars weren’t allowed into Ibrox for BT Sport coverage.