“Feels like Warburton” – Rangers fans losing patience with Stevie favourite

“Feels like Warburton” – Rangers fans losing patience with Stevie favourite
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: James Tavernier of Rangers looks on as he arrives at the stadium prior to the UEFA Europa League group A match between Rangers FC and Olympique Lyon at Ibrox Stadium on September 16, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

We’re never keen on picking on individual players but we always have to be honest, and call out the facts as they appear.

Many regulars to Ibrox Noise will be well aware we’ve defended James Tavernier a lot in the past year or so. We’ve demonstrated his defending is not as horrific as many claim, and we’ve shown how good he can be going forward.

However, we have never hidden from his failings either, and this season, it’s safe to say, our captain James Tavernier is probably having his worst wire-to-wire season in the shirt.

Last night, Tav was bailed out repeatedly by Leon Balogun, whose tackle rate of 7 was one of the highest we can remember for years by a defender in our colours. But on the other side of defence it wasn’t a lot better, as LB Borna Barisic, maligned by so many this season, bailed out the desperately poor Calvin Bassey with his own high tackle count of 5 and 2 interceptions.

And of course a tonne of attacks came down Rangers’ right flank, with Tav out of position far too many times and Davo off the pace to bail him out (he tried 7 crosses, all failed).

It was patently clear for everyone to see, especially at the start of the second half, that Tav was struggling to contain anyone on Prague’s left, and the bizarrely high line of our defence was being exposed repeatedly. Why Gerrard instructed the CBs to press higher up the pitch and leave themselves exposed to counters that easily is beyond us, and Tavernier was the one caught napping over and over as somehow Prague failed to capitalise on that.

He’s been a scapegoat for a long time, Tavernier, and it’s not fair to pick on one player, but this remains on Stevie.

He picked Tav as captain, and he never subs him when he’s struggling – just ‘trusts’ him out there, or lacks the balls to hook him.

The Nathan Patterson issue once again is surfacing, and while it’s hard to claim a 19-year old is the saviour of Rangers, it’s a 19-year old who’s already Scotland’s number one choice and has more experience of high-level competition than most of his age in this country’s game.

Should he have come on? Probably, but it’s Stevie’s decision to make.

And he’s been pretty clear that all his summer promises about playing he and Tav, or not leaving Patterson on the bench were literal BS.

Gerrard is feeling some heat now, with his decisions beginning to haunt him.

Said one fan – ‘his interviews are starting to feel like Warburton’.

Unfortunately we’d have to agree.

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  1. I’m definitely not going to kick a player when he’s down but I think he needs to move Tav up to RW and put Patterson behind. Let Hagi and Aribo work where they are best in the centre with Lundstram/Kamara covering. Tav isn’t horrific at defending but we have a problem at RW in that we don’t have one. Patterson is a better defender than Tav and Davo is no where near the player of last season. If Tav doesn’t have to worry so much about defending maybe he will start putting in some decent crosses again.

    This time it’s not in Stevie we trust because things need to change and that is obvious.

    • Yea he isn’t a winger either. He needs the over lap most of the time to attempt a cross which have been awful he just gets that many in some of them are bound to be successful. He’s not really going to run an trick his way through a defender or 2, hell most likely get the ball & pass it back & do thee damage from the positions he’s picking up which he’s only picking up because he’s coming from deep. He’s a wing back all day long, but when his confidence goes it’s gone. Hes a good communicator, but that shouldn’t be the basis of making someone captain. Captains need to stand up an be counted every single week.
      Imo we need to give the younger hungrier players a run, Patterson, Kelly, bassey.
      I also think team moral is being affected somewhere behind the scenes.

  2. I think a lot of fans feel defensive of Tav because it seems he’s being criticised on a personal level- but it’s purely tactical and performance, and anyone who looks honestly can see it. Opposition teams do a huge amount of tactical and video preparation in the game now, and it’s obvious that if you’re playing us our right side is the weak spot in the chain.
    Think over the last few games this season. How many times are we opened up by a simple ball though the right hand channel and I’m talking Sunday morning league simple , or a straightforward ball over the top for the opposing left midfielder to run on to. Then a centre back has to sprint to cover leaving wide open gaps in the centre. Why? Because Tav is constantly woefully out of position either by his own doing or SG’s baffling tactic.
    How many times does an attack come down our left side and the cross sent in reaches an opposing player at the back right post on his own. Why? Because Tav is usually still up the park in line with our forwards, or if he is back seems unable to read his position and tuck in across to his centre back to cover his back post.
    This is simple, basic fundamentals of defending that would get you dropped from a second division team if you were doing it week in week out. I’ve said it before he offers something going forward, although not this season, but if we’re being truthful he’s probably not even the second best right back at the club.
    Far greater legends of the club were subject to the same standards and demands, and people should remember that. If you want the perks and glamour of playing for a massive club you accept the pressure and standard you have to deliver. If you can’t handle that pressure, plenty of smaller clubs where you get by having one decent performance every 4-6 games.

  3. I agree that Tav should be moved forward with Nathan Patterson taking the defensive role. But can we afford to drop Jo Aribo or Hagi to accommodate Tav. There are issues in central defence when Goldson and Helander are not available and I agree with the view that Katic should be recalled.
    Alterations to the defence will hopefully reduce the goals against but we still need consistancy in the final third from Kent, Morelos and Roofe.

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