Lee Hodson v James Tavernier – who wins?

 Richard Fillingham

I really liked my Ibrox Noise colleague’s article regarding our eighth new signing of the season so far – Northern Ireland internationalist right back, Lee Hodson. His question was, “Where does his capture leave James Tavernier”?

He went onto say:

“I am not advocating the dropping of Tavernier, he deserves better than to be dismissed off hand, and I am absolutely sure he will be working hook and by crook on his defending this summer”

…and one of his main points was:

“Why Warburton went for such a lavish international player as ‘cover’ if that was the intention”.

Which I thought was a great point to make, so much so, that it got me really thinking about what he had said, and the situation that would develop if he just stuck with Tav at right back and expected a new international 3-year-contract player, to be happy sitting on the bench each week – I doubt it!

I will take this opportunity to give as much information on each player’s attributes and leave it to you to decide what you would do if you were Mark Warburton.

Lee Hodson is a 24-year-old, Northern Ireland internationalist, who is a versatile 5’ 8” right back, who can also cover at left back when required. He played 17 games on loan from MK Dons at Kilmarnock last season in the Scottish Premiership, and played twice against Rangers, last season in the Scottish Cup games, and I’m guessing that Mark must have been very impressed with his two displays to sign him for Rangers. This will be the third time that Lee and Warburton will have worked together, from Watford to Brentford and now to Rangers – so he obviously likes him at right back in his teams, and hopefully it will turn out to be third time lucky for us.

His record of senior games are as follows:

91 for Watford in the English Championship

18 for Brentford in the English League One

51 games for MK Dons in English League One

17 with Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premiership League

So he has the experience to do very well, when called upon for his Rangers career.

Rangers’ winger Harry Forrester has expressed his confidence in the ability of new recruit Lee Hodson who he played with at Watford when he was 15 or 16, and believes that the full-back will bring more competition to the squad and delight the boss with his brilliant attitude. Harry went on to say,

“He is a solid full back, he is a very good defender in 1 v 1 situations and he will get forward. He is young and hungry which the gaffer loves.”

James Tavernier has never been a major success at any other club except Rangers – for the following reasons. His form is often erratic and he gives the ball away too cheaply on occasions. He is not brilliant at keeping possession, and is not a great defender, indeed sometimes downright poor. Therefore, I have to ask the question; “Why is he playing at right back in the first place”? Conclusion: I believe he is far too important a player for Rangers to be stuck in a position that does not allow him to use all of his natural abilities going forward.

His shots are as good as most top strikers and he just flows into fantastic forward positions, without considering his right back duties. When he scored against Dumbarton last season, he was in the centre forward position. What on earth was he doing there? That said, I am very pleased that he was, as it allowed him to score a good poacher’s goal, and for him to know instinctively the correct position to be in, the move ended with his resultant scoring shot. You cannot teach that to a player, he either has that ability or he hasn’t. In my opinion, the solution is to sign a top class right back / defender or to play three at the back in a brand new system that makes Rangers much harder to beat. It will automatically make us stronger in defence and play Tavernier at wing-back/right midfield – call it what you want, where he doesn’t have to back track so often, and he is closer to goal scoring opportunities, which is his true forte.

I am suggesting that Rangers play Tav in his new wing-back position in all four League Cup games in
July, and also in the two pre-season friendly games, to see if the new position can cement his place in the first team. This would leave Mark Warburton with two different options:

1. Play 3 centre-backs across the back line to make us harder to beat, and not to lose so many goals at corners and free kicks.

2. Play Lee at right back with two centre halves and a left back in a straight forward back four style of play.

Ibrox Noise welcomes your comments on all of the above.


  1. Tav and Waldo are the men in possession of the full back jersey's. Hodson is there to provide competition and cover. If he gets a chance and takes it, he will stay in the team – no different to any other position. Let's not over complicate a pretty simple signing….

  2. Losing goals from corners and free kicks has no connection to how many we play at the back. It's defending them properly

  3. thanks for your efforts in producing this article for us Richard…The way i would see it is that it gives mr Warburton a plan "B" in a round about way by having the very distinct capabilities of being more defensive or more attacking in the team selections…So…If we are up against teams that play the same way we played last season then it might be a defensive set up… and vice versa…This can only be a great positive for our club and of course it will create healthy rivalry in the squad…Bring on the new season!

  4. Tav is not a great defender but we would definitely miss his goals Hudson may be worth a wee run to put a bit of pressure on Tav

  5. tavs played about 50 games last season scored a cracker against peaterhead had about 3 bad games the same as most players do that play 50 games, so don't worry he will do better next year couse he played 50 games last year

  6. I've said consistently on this site for past 6 months or so that I wud bring on a solid right bck and push tav up in a more attacking roll wer he doesn't need to do as much defensive work because without doubt tav is Very gd technically can go by players has a great cross n shot in my opinion n he ll win lots of free kicks and penalties in a more advanced position he could provide the team with 20-30 goals a season between Assists n scoring himself so I hope warbs will have noticed his strength and weaknesses and move him forward.

    • Agree with this totally – my only concern is we'd have to drop a midfielder (Krancjar, Holt, Halliday etc) to accommodate him further forward.

  7. Play Hodson at LB, cash in on the older Wallace, 29yo when the season starts, when he hits the 30's he will have little or no resell value.

    Just a thought.

    • yeah well keep your thoughts to yourself becouse that one was just dumm Waldo is about our best player so do you think we are going to drop him for lee hodson ,guys a bet when season starts hodson will not make bench he will only play when waldo or tavs injured or needing rest time

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