THE value of Rangers’ Sporting Director model was proved unequivocally during what was supposed to be another mundane international break last November.

One minute Steven Gerrard was reaffirming to RangersTV that his players’ participation during that fortnight with their national sides was “not as important as the semi-final” they would return to play against Hibs, the next he was holding aloft the claret and blue of Aston Villa.

Seven days on and it was Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s turn to pull the new manager pose, meaning just one, albeit ill-fated, game was navigated with a makeshift coaching team. The swift appointment process justified the continuous noise coming out of Ibrox in recent years that Rangers are a modern club, just as Nathan Patterson’s £16 million Everton transfer last week validated the player-trading model long spoken of.

“Ross takes a lot of credit for what actually happened in the period since Steven left,” managing director Stewart Robertson said at the unveiling of van Bronckhorst. “We moved quickly but a lot of that was because a lot of the preparation was already done, something that we do continually.”

Speaking to the club’s media channel before that press conference Wilson explained why the process of hiring a new manager had been completed so seamlessly. 

He said: “We have been tracking for a period of time a number of potential future Rangers managers, it’s only right that a modern, innovative football club does that.”

These processes corroborate to the club's transfer window activity as well as their identification of managers.

The Sporting Director model offers contingency and longevity in a footballing environment that increasingly sees the average managerial cycles reduce. It allows for a long-term footballing vision to be established by a long-term presence, it ensures that a squad is not only built for one manager’s system and style. 

READ MORE: Rangers' Ross Wilson is adding firm foundations to a position of strength

In the weeks following his appointment van Bronckhorst has reconditioned this team into the mould of a more traditional 4-3-3, significantly altering plenty of the on-pitch rhythms and routines all were well-versed in.

"Steven Gerrard also played 4-3-3, but if you see our matches, it is clear that we operate significantly differently in a number of positions,” he recently told De Telegraaf.

While the Dutchman’s comments are true and the responsibilities of nearly all outfield positions have been subject to reform, an outsider would not guess this squad was built for another manager. This is of course because it wasn’t and why, in a congested and vital footballing period, a new manager could hit the ground running.

As van Bronckhorst elaborated in De Telegraaf he has “access to classic wingers” (Ryan Kent, Scott Wright and Fashion Sakala) and a “real No.10” (Joe Aribo). Having also inherited a focal point in Alfredo Morelos who required reprogramming to unleash previously-harnessed attributes, any concerns that this squad may struggle to move away from Gerrard's 4-3-2-1 were dissipated in a debut win over Sparta Prague.

Gerrard’s leadership and attraction were fundamentally important aspects of the club’s progression, but he was not solely in charge of building this squad. Such responsibility falls to Wilson and his team who have to ensure that the players they have available fit in with the management succession plan so profitable to date.

Of course, new singings will be required and players more akin to the new philosophy will be prioritised. While a recalibration that continues with the current squad has worked well to date, there are areas that look far more sparse than in the summer – such is the differentiations between styles.

Because No.10s are now wingers, a double-pivot has become a single and the role of full-backs have changed - some areas are bloated and others underfunded.

Rangers Review: Rangers squad depth at the start of 21/22Rangers squad depth at the start of 21/22

Rangers Review: Rangers' squad depth after the system change Rangers' squad depth after the system change

Of course, Calvin Bassey is a left-back option, and newly-arrived James Sands could cover at right-back despite both not being considered full-backs in the first instance. In Bassey’s case, it appears unrealistic he won’t now be treated as a central defender given his vitality to the team’s upturn at the back and own individual comfort in that role. Sands meanwhile only played around 200 minutes at right-back throughout his entire last season in the MLS.

READ MORE: How Giovanni van Bronckhorst's 'significantly different' 4-3-3 has repaired Rangers' defensive deficiencies

The American's 'specific versatility' has the markings of a van Bronckhorst-influenced signing - he should help the team build up when Glen Kamara is marked out of proceedings.

But his arrival is another body in a busy area that Ryan Jack, John Lundstram and Steven Davis also inhabit. Coincidently, travel a line up the pitch and there is a severe lack of depth behind starters Scott Arfield and Aribo. Ianis Hagi wants to play centrally but may not possess the defensive capabilities to do so, Juninho Bacuna has rarely featured. 

There is not is a requirement to rip up a squad built by a manager who knows particular markets, an ill-fated experiment under Pedro Caixinha, or an exodus of players who were more attracted by the previous manager than the club. Wilson's work means the new manager must refine rather than rebuild his squad.

The Sporting Director model allows for the influence of managers to help determine players brought to the club but doesn't require a need for an overhaul when they depart. As such the transfer activity this month is likely to be calculated and undramatic, continuing on the good work done prior to November.