As Rangers handed James Sands a debut against Aberdeen, his inclusion in the starting XI sent an ominous message regarding exit-linked John Lundstram.
USA international Sands got something of a baptism of fire as Rangers travelled to Pittodrie – probably the club’s second hardest away trip of the domestic calendar – and van Bronckhorst’s side toiled in a drab 1-1 draw against the Dons.
But given the fact there were several key midfield players ruled out, it speaks volumes that the Dutch coach didn’t call on John Lundstram from the start of the game.
Before the match we talked about how the midfielder could be set for a big opportunity against the Dons but Lundstram was consigned to bench duties as the game got underway.
It’s certainly too soon to be judging 21-year-old Sands but the fact the January signing from New York City FC was preferred to John Lundstram perhaps says something about the pecking order at Ibrox.
Rangers preferred new signing James Sands to John Lundstram against Aberdeen
Used almost exclusively by van Bronckhorst to shore up matches so far in the Dutchman’s management tenure, Lundstram has been unable to stake a proper starting XI claim so far but was used from the bench v Aberdeen.
A Steven Gerrard signing who has struggled to win over many supporters, this has led to a growing sentiment that van Bronckhorst doesn’t fancy the Ibrox high-earner.
Having joined in the summer after his contract expired a Sheffield United, there are rumours abound that Gerrard twisted the club’s arm to get the midfielder in the door.
But since then Lundstram hasn’t done enough to justify his rumoured high-wages and there is much conjecture surrounding his future in this window.
Linked with a reunion with Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder, this isn’t about lambasting or scapegoating the midfielder as Rangers lick their wounds post-Pittodrie.
But rather it’s about considering the rumoured wage budget splashed on a player who quite clearly is struggling to break into the first XI.
Would this money not be better spent on a first-team player who can exert greater influence on the Rangers team and the club’s results than John Lundstram is doing right now?
Meanwhile, Rangers are praised by one of the club’s leading partners as they announce plans to strike deals with four more sides ahead of next season.