When a new manager comes in, the big topic among fans is often the improvement in certain players. Under Michael Beale, Ryan Kent, Fashion Sakala, Malik Tillman and Borna Barisic are among those to have seen a lift in their performances, with the ‘new’ Rangers manager (he’s not really new now is he) impressing his ideas and system on the players.
However, one player has absolutely not thrived under Beale, and despite the new system seemingly benefiting him completely, we’ve maybe seen this chap actually go back the way under the new manager.
Captain James Tavernier, who we know is not fully fit and has been playing with a knock (which really requires surgery) has struggled this entire season, managing reasonably under ex-manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst but may now be running on empty under Beale.
Ex-manager Gio confirmed in September that Tav had an injury already before he was laid out again v Ajax and replaced by Leon King, and that never did see a proper recovery as would have been more ideal.
And now we’re either seeing the result of that never being properly treated, or a loss of form, or both, as Tav cuts a bit of a subdued figure on the right.
His goals and assists stats wouldn’t hint at a bad season – 8 goals (admittedly a pile of penalties) and 4 assists is not bad for a defender in February, but if we look at the stunning team display v Hearts, while Borna threw in 15 crossing attempts, Tav managed just 3.
Against County, same story – Borna with 17, Tav with just 6. St Johnstone was a bit better, he made 9 attempts, Borna had only 5, but then at Killie it’s back to 6 while Borna had 12.
He has not been at his best for quite a while, he’s not getting forward the effective way he used to and tellingly, he’s not throwing in those crosses like he used to.
Is this a new instruction from his manager or is he outright struggling for form or is it just plain injury?
We couldn’t tell you. What we do know is he’s the only option we really have there, unless Beale believes Adam Devine is up to it. He clearly doesn’t.
It’s not Tavernier’s best season as a Rangers player, and he’s currently a bit of a weak link.