The whole Nathan Patterson v James Tavernier saga is becoming just that. A saga.
Yesterday Steven Gerrard confirmed James Tavernier ‘is’ the best RB in Scotland, without expressing it as an opinion. He stated it factually.
He then added that Patterson will eventually be his successor.
James Tavernier could potentially have years left as a Rangers player, and Patterson is just evolving into a magnificent player, which has left many Rangers fans in furious debate over ‘who’s better’.
Full time yesterday effectively was filled with ‘where’s all the Tav haters now’ from hundreds, thousands of fans keen to make some sort of point, while rather ignoring the serious issue at hand here.
Tavernier has NOT been impressive since January. He had a stonking, ludicrously good August to December then it tailed off entirely. And he’s been pretty poor for quite a few months.
This is not Tav hating – regulars will know this site was one of the few to outright back the man over his defending when every other fan appeared to be slaughtering him.
We are simply wishing to remain factual about his strengths and weaknesses, and keep it honest.
Yesterday was the best and worst of Tavernier in all its glory – best when he saved at least one goal, maybe two, and scoring an absolutely stonking goal which won the match. Worst when he wasted about 14 attempts at crossing and only nailed 4 of them not to mention an average passing level while giving the ball away a lot, before falling on his backside a couple of times.
He has good and bad to his game. This is undeniable.
But with Tav there’s no middle ground. He’s either a match winner, a shambles, or amazingly both at the same time.
The reason Patterson is so lauded is because he’s much more robust, stable, and doesn’t cost anyone anything. And that’s why Everton were ready to pay £8M.
The problem we have is Gerrard has an absolute blind spot to Tavernier. If he’s fit he plays, and Patterson rots on the bench. We have a brilliantly talented young asset there but if we don’t start giving him regular game time, he will eventually hand in a transfer request.
We will lose Nathan Patterson for the same reason we lost Billy Gilmour – no pathway to our first team.
We get it – Stevie is a huge fan of Tavernier, and rates him borderline world class (for real). Fans don’t share that for the majority, even if the captain still has a lot of staunch support from a lot of the fanbase.
And that means Tav plays, end of.
But Gerrard has to find a fair solution to keep Patterson happy. He cannot languish on the bench – he has a burgeoning Scotland career to maintain.
Play both? Stevie suggested it, but we’re now getting into the season and there’s been zero sign that’s going to happen.
He admitted they were both far too good to leave on the bench but he’s done it anyway with Patterson.
So where this goes now falls on the manager. His call, his decision.
But if Patterson doesn’t start to get game time soon, we fear losing him completely.
And fans would be horrified at that.