James Tavernier – Captain Fantastic Or Is He?

I decided to write my debut blog for Inside Ibrox about the Rangers captain, James Tavernier, as he splits the support in terms of whether or not he is a good captain.

Some of our support don’t see Tav as a good captain because he has only won 2/10 trophies on offer during his captaincy. To me this is not due to Tav or his stint as captain. It’s more down to mitigating factors, such as the players around him not being of a good enough level to win competitions in the first place. In my opinion you would find that without the Englishman in these situations, we wouldn’t even be competing for the trophy in the first place.

Is it because he’s not a born and bred Rangers supporter?

A lot of our generation relate to the days where Barry Ferguson was Rangers captain, a player who came through our youth setup that was brought up from a Rangers background.

What we need to remember is Tavernier has been at the club since our championship days as a player. He’s been here under five different management teams now, so he’s obviously rated as a player.

It was when Steven Gerrard came in as manager that he was first appointed captain of the team. Now if Steven Gerrard thought at the time he was captain material, then that’s good enough for me.

The sheer goal contributions from James Tavernier since joining the club is crazy. He has single handily dragged us through matches and is a match winner in his own right. He scored the crucial goals at home to Dortmund on the Europa league run that are etched in history and was a pivotal factor in the run to the final.

James Tavernier and Steven Gerrard

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – OCTOBER 29: Steven Gerrard, Manager of Rangers with James Tavernier of Rangers following the UEFA Europa League Group D stage match between Rangers and Lech Poznan at Ibrox Stadium on October 29, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Robert Perry – Pool/Getty Images)

His contributions to the club post-Gerrard era has been nothing short of phenomenal. He is a  right back for Rangers that has scored over 100 goals.

Fine most of them are penalties but Tav’s contribution on the pitch has made him our best player in recent seasons.

His passing range is his biggest asset. He’s deadly from a set piece when it comes to delivery or scoring, with his engine to get up and down the park showing that his attitude to the game is without a doubt the best at the club. Some of his defensive play is questionable and he has made errors, but this is largely down to the way he has been asked to play his position.

Is he a worthy captain?

For me the answer is a huge yes.

He leads by example and wins us points when required. Although he may not be the most vocal captain, he can certainly encourage some players and give others a bit of verbal when he feels it’s needed.

He has won two out of 10 trophies domestically and this could be seen as a failure by a big part of the fan base and there is valid reason for that.

However, I’m looking at the bigger picture in terms of what he offers to the team and how he has lead us on the park for the past three years.

He is a robust player who never gets injured who is consistent in his performance. His commitment to the club can’t be questioned, with his affection for Rangers and the fanbase undeniable.

I would say a captain in these times is someone who leads by example on a football pitch and is vocal in the correct manner. Gone are the days when Barry would sit in the middle of the park looking larger than life dictating play and rolling heads every time he didn’t have the ball. Standards can be kept higher in a different way and Tavernier does this to good effect.

We are currently watching a Rangers Hall of Famer in action, so let’s just watch and support him as he leads us to 56 and enjoy his quality while it is still on display.

I don’t believe in this lifetime we are going to see a player so effective from a right back position pulling on the famous royal blue and having the time of his life playing for a club he has grown to love.

He is composed in the bad times and humble in the good times, which is the biggest part of being a Ranger.