GIOVANNI VAN BRONCKHORST has never lost his will to win. Such a trait was valuable at Feyenoord, but it is a prerequisite at Rangers.

The doubts over his desire to be a manager have long since faded and a player with an accomplished history is now embarking on his next challenge as a boss. The future is Oranje at Ibrox.

His return to Rangers sees the Dutchman begin the next chapter in a remarkable career, one which took him to the pinnacle of the club game and to within touching distance of the most sought-after prize in football.

His failures, as they do with all elite athletes, shape him, but his glories define van Bronckhorst as he seeks his next silverware at the club where he won his first league title more than two decades ago.

A Premier League and FA Cup were lifted at Arsenal, while a move to Barcelona brought two La Liga crowns and the Champions League in 2006 as his former club were beaten in Paris.

That Barca side were not as classy or revered as the one which Pep Guardiola would later perfect, but van Bronckhorst – himself such a wonderful talent in midfield and then latterly at left-back – was a composed part of a team that were worthy of their status as the best on the continent.

His time in England and Spain opened van Bronckhorst’s eyes to new methods and he would adapt culturally and tactically at club level whilst maintaining his place as a mainstay for the Dutch outfit that he would later go on to captain with such distinction.

Schooled at the Feyenoord academy from the age of six, van Bronckhorst had been accustomed to the old adage that you train how you play. Such a driven, committed mindset had helped him thrive at his hometown club and then at Rangers and Arsenal, but he encountered a different approach when he joined Barcelona under the guidance of countryman Frank Rijkaard.

Tackles were full-blooded and not shirked by van Bronckhorst in his initial training sessions before he was met with queries from his new team-mates. Being informed that it was acceptable to operate down a couple of notches during the week and then step it up on matchday was anathema, but the approach relayed from the South American contingent in the dressing room ultimately paid dividends for Barcelona.

Such experiences have moulded van Bronckhorst’s outlook on the game. They are recollections – both good and bad – that he now utilises as a manager.

It was in the summer of 2010 that the Dutchman found himself at a crossroads. The World Cup final defeat to Spain was a cruel way for his proud career to end and van Bronckhorst had to decipher his next steps in the game.

He was initially seemingly nonplussed about moving into coaching and a role with one of the junior national teams in his homeland didn’t appear to be the beginning of the future. He had an affection for the game, but there were questions over his commitment to coaching and willingness to make the sacrifices such a lifestyle would require.

Once van Bronckhorst was back in familiar surroundings, his outlook quickly changed. A spell under Ronald Koeman at Feyenoord would prove to be the start of a journey that would take him to title glory, and now finally back to Ibrox.

When the decision was made by the De Kuip board that Fred Rutten’s contract would not be renewed at the end of the 2014/15 Eredivisie campaign, the search for his replacement commenced. Few reckoned at that time that it would be van Bronckhorst that would ultimately succeed him.

Jean Paul van Gastel – now, in a twist of fate, lined up for his own move to Rangers in a coaching capacity - was the preferred choice, but there was a reluctance on his part. A respected coach who had worked with the academy teams at Willem II and Feyenoord, the moment seemed right for him to step forward, but it was van Bronckhorst who instead came to the fore.

The timing wasn’t right for van Gastel. The opportunity had come for van Bronckhorst, though, as an appointment was made that would pay glorious dividends for Feyenoord.

There was scepticism about the move in some quarters. Van Bronckhorst had earned huge respect and admiration as a player for club and country and clearly had a love for Feyenoord, but he was unproven at Eredivisie level.

A run of nine fixtures without a win in the middle of his first campaign was ominous but the season would end with silverware as Utrecht were beaten in the final of the KNVB Cup.

The wisdom of a former mentor proved decisive for van Bronckhorst as Dick Advocaat, the man who had taken him to Rangers, spoke with his staff and a handful of his players. Greater triumphs would soon follow as Feyenoord’s inexperienced boss earned his place amongst some of their finest.

His philosophy is typically Dutch and his side play an attacking, expansive style of football, one which places emphasis on technical ability and speed of foot and mind. It is an approach that should be at home at Ibrox as van Bronckhorst looks to pick up where Steven Gerrard left off.

Two holding midfielders will give his side a solidity in front of a back four, while wingers will operate either side of a number ten and behind a lone striker. Van Bronckhorst has developed a tactical fluidity, but he demands his players are on the front foot and he would stick to his principles even during that difficult run in his first season as manager.

Troubles would follow in the aftermath of his crowning moment and Feyenoord’s return to the Champions League was chastening. Just one win – at home to Napoli on matchday six – was earned as van Bronckhorst’s side struggled against the Italians and Shakhtar Donetsk and suffered a heavy defeat to Manchester City.

Such lessons were harsh for the Dutchman and Rangers will hope that they are well learned as van Bronckhorst seeks to guide them out of the Europa League this term and back into the continent’s premier club competition next season.

To do that, he will need to replicate his title glory with Feyenoord as he guided the club to their first Eredivisie crown in 18 years. Competing against the might of Ajax and PSV, it was an exceptional achievement in only his second campaign as a manager.

His relationship with his players was integral to the realisation of his dream. He is an emotional coach that connects with people rather than a strict disciplinarian and a figure for whom his countrymen – regardless of the colour of their club scarf – have the highest regard.

Conducting himself in the right manner and representing his club professionally is important to van Bronckhorst and he has the stature to hold the office of Rangers manager. A man of no enemies, he will not be daunted by the Old Firm cauldron second time around.

He returns to Ibrox older and wiser. On his departure from Feyenoord two years ago, there was an acceptance that his future lay away from his homeland as moves to PSV or Ajax – adversaries in the renowned Klassieker fixture – were out of the question. His horizons were expanded at the Etihad Stadium as he gained insight into how Manchester City and the City Group conducted their business, both on and off the park, before he headed to China.

That spell with Guangzhou was ultimately short lived as the impact of Coronavirus hit home but van Bronckhorst has always been a man who cherishes his family and familiar surroundings. In that regard, Glasgow is the ideal backdrop for his next chapter as he chases his next accomplishment whilst staying connected to the extended network that he holds so dearly.

His knowledge of the city – in both sporting and societal senses – will stand him in good stead and he arrives at Rangers with opportunities ahead of him as the champions seek to defend their Premiership title and earn cup silverware.

Such demands will not weigh heavily on van Bronckhorst’s shoulders. His ambition has always been to win, even when the odds seemed stacked against him at Feyenoord.

He would overcome them in historic fashion and another KNVB Cup, plus two Johan Cruyff Shield triumphs, see van Brockhorst head to Ibrox with a standing in the game and a proven track record.

His adamant position that settling for third or fourth in the Eredivisie would not do for Feyenoord paid off. He knows as well as anyone that being second in a two horse race is not acceptable at Ibrox.

His desire can no longer be doubted. His will to win never has been as he re-enters an arena where silverware is the only currency that matters as a manager.