Eustace joined Derby County as a player in the summer of 2013 originally under the guidance of Nigel Clough, but Clough’s sacking early in the season soon saw Eustace link up with McClaren.
The former England manager counted on the holding midfielder’s presence in his Derby side before the arrival of George Thorne, who originally joined the Rams on loan from West Bromwich Albion.
Eustace could have disappeared from the first-team picture altogether, yet instead he stuck around in a mentor role and helped Thorne become one of the Championship’s best players for a time.
Unfortunately for Thorne, successive long-term injuries have taken their toll and he’s no longer the player he was, but the next who could greatly benefit from Eustace’s invaluable input is Queens Park Rangers ace Luongo.
The Australia international joined Queens Park Rangers from Swindon Town in 2015, but it wasn’t until this past season where he really started to show his capabilities with a string of fine performances.
Luongo started 38 Championship games this past season, averaging an impressive 3.8 tackles per game while also chipping in with five goals and three assists.
McClaren predominantly plays a 4-3-3 formation with a holding midfielder who is not only tasked with making tackles and breaking up play, but also acting as deep-lying playmaker who can build the attacks.
Luongo has the passing range and ball-playing attributes to perform in such a role, yet with Eustace’s defensive input, he could become a complete holding midfielder and one of the Championship’s leading stars.
Eustace could help the 25-year-old positionally and with his reading of the game, just as he previously did with Thorne, and as a result he could turn in to an absolutely pivotal player for John Eustace.
Many have questioned Queen's Park Rangers' decision to appoint McClaren, yet people are quick to forget how good of a coach he is - and underestimate how capable he is of drastically improving several of the Hoops’ young players.
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