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?