Sheffield United: Rangers' John Lundstram could have been making Lane return after Chris Wilder makes Bryan Robson comparison

John Lundstram could have been another former Sheffield United man making his return to Bramall Lane this midweek after Chris Wilder, the former Blades boss, admitted he considered an approach for the Rangers man in January – after comparing him to former England skipper Bryan Robson.

Wilder will make his long-awaited return to the club he served so well on Tuesday evening when Middlesbrough travel to Bramall Lane, in another huge game in terms of both clubs’ play-off hopes.

And Lundstram, who left the Blades on a free in the summer after his contract expired, could have also been returning to South Yorkshire if his former manager had his way.

“I thought about going for John again in January when he wasn’t playing," Wilder told the Daily Record.

“There would have been many admirers down here trying to get him back. But he’s been patient, he’s back in the team and both John and Rangers are getting the rewards now.

"He could have played as a No.6 for us at Sheffield United as well but he was probably more of an eight, a box-to-box guy. He has great energy to get up and down the pitch.

“In the modern era we get caught up in this argument: ‘Is he a six or an eight?’

Chris Wilder and John Lundstram during their time at Sheffield United - Wilder is now at Middlesbrough and Lundstram at Rangers: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

“I just think he’s a really good player. What’s wrong with that?

“He can play in a two or a three in midfield and he’s old-school. He’s like a throwback to Bryan Robson.

“He can pass it, he can head it, he can tackle and he can get in the box to score. He can do everything.

“But we seem to have got away from this notion of just being a good, proper midfield player. That’s what John is."

Lundstram scored in Rangers’ Europa League victory over Borussia Dortmund in Germany and has emerged from a bit-part player to a key man under Ibrox boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

“I watched his goal against Dortmund and it was brilliant. I messaged John after the game because he’s such a good lad,” Wilder added.

“Going to a club like Rangers is the ultimate test in such a pressurised situation. But I’m not surprised that he’s now doing well. He’s athletic, a good passer and a real modern-day footballer.

“At Rangers the expectation is to hit the ground running. When that doesn’t happen and you’re out of the team it can be difficult for a new player.

“But John is now getting a run, like he did with us, and he feels like a big part of it. That’s why you’re seeing the best of him.

“It was very similar when he came to Sheffield United.”

Boro travel to Bramall Lane a point and a place above the Blades in the Championship table, with Wilder’s men taking advantage of United’s 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest on Friday evening to go sixth courtesy of a 2-1 victory over fellow play-off hopefuls Luton Town.

Wilder twice led United to promotion during his time in charge, before departing his boyhood club a year ago.