What is James Tavernier’s REAL role at Rangers?

What is James Tavernier’s REAL role at Rangers?
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - APRIL 08: Michael Beale speaks to James Tavernier of Rangers FC during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Celtic FC and Rangers FC at Celtic Park on April 08, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Someone on Ibrox Noise made a very bold point today, one that is counter to a lot of Rangers fans’ opinions, but it’s one Ibrox Noise agreed with completely, and it may not be popular:

James Tavernier is not, never was, and never will be good enough to be either Rangers captain or a Rangers RB.

We have never wavered from this, but it does feel like any time anyone dares to be critical of him, a hugely tribal response comes from his biggest fans in the support and angrily shouts them down.

On stats, alone, yes, there’s no question his goals and assists are ‘ridiculous for a defender’.

Absolutely correct. But this isn’t strictly a compliment. It shows, instead, how he doesn’t actually play as a defender, doesn’t support the rear, and spends most of his time in the opposition half.

His being out of position exposes Rangers constantly, and he has never cared to especially read play – in short, he basically plays as a right winger and striker, one not being especially marked, but who isn’t interested in helping out defensively.

See, we don’t have a huge problem with his goals or assists – who would?

But that isn’t nor has it ever been his job, and in getting the glory of these goals and assists, he has, for 7+ years now, ditched the defensive side of things.

Even his defensive stats are misleading, because he does most of his intercepting and tackling generally in the middle third – particularly the interceptions.

The reality is that he and his managers have chosen this role for him – an unmarked winger/striker who gets to do his job without actually being marked or tailed much – because he’s supposed to be at the back.

It means Rangers mainly play with three at the back – Barisic or Ridvan mostly cover for the deficit by remaining back with the two CBs and Tav goes meandering off.

Upshot? He’s not a good rightback, and he’s not a good captain. He’s a bizarre winger/striker who gets away with defensive neglect on account of offensive contributions.

If that’s good enough for you, fair play, but Ibrox Noise would much prefer a RB like Patterson in that position. One who actually defends as well.

But hey, what do we know?

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  1. I agree he is not a good captain. I would prefer a better leader and inspirer of men. I also do not think he is a great defender. This has been proven multiple times.
    But your question, like your article, misses a point. His managers run the team, not him. If they wanted him to stay back and defend, they would tell him to and drop him if he disobeyed. So they have weighed the good and bad and said go for it. When Ryan Jack plays, he covers that area when Tavernier moves forward.
    So I feel there should have been a voting option for “crap captain, but does what he is asked to”.

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