In an earlier piece we discussed Rangers’ international players, but more tellingly, we included some of those miles off being picked, and even more insightfully they were all English.
Ryan Kent, John Lundstram and James Tavernier are nowhere near being picked for Gareth Southgate’s England, nothing to do with their ability, and everything to do with a biased manager who has his pals.
Yes, England have completely overachieved in recent years, but Southgate has been historically criticised for not getting anywhere near as much out of his players as he should.
And it’s therefore no surprise that Rangers’ English contingent, especially Tavernier and Kent, don’t get a shout anywhere near the NT.
If we look at Kent’s rivals, for example, the main one is Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham.
Now, England scouts were at both Rangers Dortmund matches but weren’t remotely interested in Kent – and this is despite him absolutely slaughtering the German defence and scoring a world class goal.
Tavernier? World class stats in Europe, shown himself to be as good as anyone at that level, but utterly overlooked by Southgate in favour of, admittedly, a strong pool of right backs.
But none of which have the European record Tavernier does.
Instead, and you knew we’d mention him, Harry Maguire lines up in the same old stale England team that the manager’s pals all make up.
England is a clique – it doesn’t matter how good you are, if you’re not playing in England, bar a rare couple of exceptions you don’t get a look in.
Even the best English defender around, Milan’s Fikayo Tomori, has barely 3 caps because he’s not based in the PL. Kieran Trippier is the main big exception, but he was an established international till he moved to Spain, and of course he’s back in England.
Bellingham is the one Southgate has no choice over, given how good he is for Dortmund in a massive league.
But Tavernier? He’s the best-performing RB in Europe with the most crazy UEL stats?
Not good enough in Southgate’s eyes.
Is it a Scotland thing? Under this England manager, yes it is. Fraser Forster would have stood no chance of his England call up when at Celtic if Southgate was the manager. It was Roy Hodgson who made that call.
But now? Kent and Tavernier would have to move to England and prove themselves for this manager to even remotely take note.
Doesn’t matter what they do in the UEL, and the same will even apply if they excel in the UCL.
As long as they play league football in Scotland Gareth Southgate isn’t interested.