The James Tavernier, Nathan Patterson and Steven Gerrard ‘love triangle’ got more complicated today after Patterson withdrew from Scotland duty to face Austria while Tavernier delivered a press release confirming he’s fit again and returns to training today.
After the Scotland international excelled yet again for the NT on his first full start for Steve Clarke’s men, it put a spot of symbolic pressure on counterpart Gerrard that if even Rangers-hating Clarke can select Patterson, then he surely has to have a strong case for selection over Tavernier as well.
This is not to say Rangers’ captain is as hapless a RB as Stephen O’Donnell who is literally the most average of RBs. Tavernier is clearly better than that.
But Patterson’s stock is sky high, with a market value now of £10M+ minimum, and that kind of talent cannot be left to rot on the bench any longer.
As for Tavernier, his confirmation of a return to fitness means he’s likely to be in the XI to face St Johnstone, going by Gerrard’s preferences, unless Rangers’ manager has a significant change of heart.
‘In Stevie We Trust’ isn’t going to help Patterson develop, and on current form he’s infinitely the superior choice over Tavernier.
That said, Tavernier’s talents going forward are valuable too, and should be utilised as a useful weapon when needed.
But we think wishfully. Unless Steven Gerrard has a massive change of heart, James Tavernier will continue at RB and Patterson will continue on the bench.
That said, it’s hard to have any sympathy for the manager here. He made the rod for his own back making Tav untouchable, immune – and now he has a magnificent alternative who’s got a bigger market value than the first choice and could be vulnerable to sale if not selected.
It will be absolutely intriguing to see who starts on Saturday.