Philippe Clement arrived at Ibrox and promised to focus on the present and the future rather than the past, vowing to give every member of the squad that he inherited a clean slate and blank page. Few, if any, have made the most of it in the manner of John Lundstram. He only needed one chance to make a good first impression.

The return of Belinda Carlisle tunes on the terraces only means one thing at Ibrox. Lundstram is back in the groove and back in the affections of the support. That has, of course, not always been the case, but his personal redemption curve mirrors the change in fortunes of so many in blue since Clement set about raising standards and transforming fortunes in the aftermath of the Michael Beale era. Lundstram is one of the poster boys for a new today and more prosperous tomorrow.

During the darkest times of the Beale reign, the prospect of Lundstram being offered an extension to his contract looked as unlikely as Rangers being able to challenge for the Premiership title. As Clement, Lundstram and the Ibrox squad have shown, a lot can happen in four months. A side that seemed destined to finish second is now top of the table and a midfielder who many would have allowed to leave on a free transfer is on the brink of committing his future to the club once again.

Clement has decisions to make on a handful of players who are now in the final weeks of their current deals. When it comes to Lundstram, it has been clear for some time what the Belgian has been thinking. The 30-year-old has earned his place in the team and earned his offer. The Rangers Review understands the club are committed to securing Lundstram's services for next season and beyond and an agreement is likely in the coming weeks.

“That is a financial thing between him and the club,” Clement said after the Scottish Cup victory at Dumbarton, the fixture that saw Lundstram open his account for the season as he headed home at the back post. “Both parties show interest to do that, that is clear. We will see in the next couple of weeks and months. He is in the situation where he can sign somewhere else. We will see. It is clear that he feels good in the club and the way of working and everybody tells me also that he is showing a better level than he had in the beginning of the season. I want to see him continue like that and then there will be a solution between the two parties at the end of the day. I talk with my players every day. It is clear what my mind is about that.”

Lundstram has so often been serenaded as the ‘best on earth’. He has also been brought back down to earth with a bump on more than one occasion. His Rangers career has been something of a rollercoaster, a journey that has had as many highs as it has lows. He has two cup medals and a Europa League semi-final winner to his credit, but he was collectively complicit in the failures under both Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Beale and received his share of the comment and criticism as a result.

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Once again, he has emerged stronger from those trials and tribulations. Like so many of those around him, Lundstram has been reinvigorated by the guidance of Clement as messages have been simplified and standards have been raised. In the aftermath of the Viaplay Cup victory over Aberdeen, Lundstram pointed to a mood that was ‘so much better’ within the camp and there is a style and a substance about Clement's Rangers.

One of the early messages from Clement was for his side to be more proactive in possession, for their first thought to be about making a forward pass. Lundstram has so often been criticised for being sluggish in possession and slowing Rangers down, but he has shown he is capable of injecting speed into their play and of dictating a higher tempo from the middle of the pitch. Just seven per cent of his passes made on league duty this season have been backwards. Overall, he is second only to John Souttar with a completion rate of 89 per cent and he makes more passes from open play than anyone else in blue.

Rangers Review: John Lundstram

Last month, he recorded assists in successive matches against Hibernian and St Mirren and it was noticeable how often his head was raised and his direction of travel was up the pitch. Both of those phases of play were similar as he found Ridvan Yilmaz and then Cyriel Dessers with dinked passes that were perfectly weighted as the respective defences were turned and Rangers were incisive and, crucially, clinical in must-win encounters. His other assists have come in the defeat to Aris Limassol and the League Cup victory over Livingston.

Those numbers are not how he is judged, especially when Clement has different profiles of midfielder to accompany him, but Lundstram does have that ability in his locker, and it brings a different dimension to the side when he looks to be more progressive in his approach. His game has evolved since the outings with Sheffield United and he is more involved in the play, more pivotal in the structure of the team as he drops in to collect the ball in deeper areas.

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Speaking ahead of that trip to Paisley, Lundstram addressed the rotation that Clement had been utilising to that point. The Belgian has continued to do so since, with his use of certain players at certain times smart from technical, tactical, physical and mental perspectives. Indeed, the squad management has been one of the hallmarks of Clement’s tenure to date and his nous of how to plan and when to change the plan has underpinned the performances and results. Lundstram stated that he would rather play than be rested and it is telling that he has been one of the constants of Clement’s blueprint. His total of 2211 minutes of Premiership action is bettered only by Connor Goldson and James Tavernier, as well as the ever-present Jack Butland.

Lundstram was forced off at the break at home to St Johnstone after being on the wrong end of a crude challenge from Diallang Jaiyesimi and he missed the win at Fir Park just days later before returning to face Celtic. The run through December saw Clement’s midfield options decimated and it was fortunate that Lundstram was not a longer-term absentee. He had played himself into fine form over the previous weeks, bringing out the best in himself as well as others.

“I cannot say anything about how he was in the past,” Clement said after the League Cup triumph. “I can only speak about now. He is a very important player for the team, not only in what he is doing himself but also in his coaching and helping the others. With Dujon today, I do not know how many midfielders he has played with already – there’s been Nico, Cifu, Ryan and Tom and now Dujon and they are all performing well. And it has something to do with Lunny, because his coaching is good and he helps the team. He is an intelligent guy who understands the story.

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"In the way I want to play football, and dominant football, you need to find spaces, but every game is different. It depends how the opponents play. You need players who understand what to do with and without the ball. He is one of the guys who understands that really fast, and those are really important things for me.”

That quartet of Butland, Tavernier, Goldson and Lundstram are the four pillars, in a different sense, of Rangers this season. Like his three team-mates, Lundstram encapsulates the mental fortitude that Clement has sought to instil within the squad. That mindset will be required every step of the way as Rangers move towards the finishing line in the Premiership and it quickly became evident to Clement that the Scouser was one of the dominant figures – in the way he trains, plays and speaks – within the squad. Lundstram takes responsibility rather than shirks it. Whatever technical or tactical weaknesses there are in his game, it is rare that his physicality or his mentality can be questioned.

It could be a case of third time lucky in Premiership terms for Lundstram. He did not make the move from Yorkshire and leave the English game to finish second to Celtic and the Old Firm defeats and medal misses will have hurt at the time.

The next dozen league encounters will determine if he heads into the new campaign as a champion or a challenger. He will, it seems, do so as a Rangers player.