He won’t get rid of the comparison. Gary Stevens was once a right-back at the Glasgow Rangers, he won six championships between 1988 and 1994. Today, the 59-year-old Englishman works in Australia as a physiotherapist, and is therefore praised to talk about James Tavernier. Like the current Rangers captain, Stevens was once considered a constant forward defender. “At that time I was able to run up and down the train for 90 or 120 minutes,” says Stevens to the “Daily Record”. “But I wasn’t technically so strong.” TAV “is also an even better goal scorer than most in the field.” And from the perspective of a physio, he adds: “He has the rare gift that his muscles are both that of a sprinter and that of a marathon man.” Tavernier should thank his parents for this gift.
So far, 63 competitive games have been on the Rangers program this season, Tavernier played 56, except for two games all over the full distance. “You also have to be lucky if you push your body so,” says Stevens. There are now two more endgames for Tavernier: on Wednesday in the Europa League against Eintracht Frankfurt and on Saturday in the Scottish Fa Cup against Heart of Midlothian. “We want both titles and Jimmy proud,” says Tavernier.
the bandage is not washed
Of course, he will lead the Rangers to the pitch in both finals. But somehow different than usual, because there is the thing with the captain’s armband. It was part of the ritual for years that Jimmy Bell demonstratively roamed him over the left upper arm before the kick -off. But shortly before the semi-final second leg, the legendary witness manager died surprisingly after almost 30 years in the service of the Rangers. “He never washed the bandage when we won,” says Tavernier. So he wants to wear the same piece of fabric as in the 3-1 win over RB Leipzig.
The perfect captain for this club.
Craig Moore about James Tavernier
Of course, Tavernier also met in this game. He scored seven goals (four penalty) in the Europa League, none in the entire competition has more – and as a defender. The statistics become even more impressive, because Tavernier only scored all seven goals in the knockout rounds, in all home games against Dortmund, Red Stern Belgrade, Braga and Leipzig, he was responsible for the 1-0, which is even more important underlined. Craig Moore, formerly captain of the Rangers and later also a defender in Gladbach, says: “Actually, he plays back to the right, but James is always in forward gear, shoots strong standards, is certainly at penalty and has an incredible timing when he is at the front of the long post must appear. The perfect captain for this club. “
They only call it “TAV” in Scotland, but it was a long way to go to the hero status with the Rangers. At home in England he was considered a great talent, even if Tavernier never played in a U-National elf. Newcastle took him from the Leeds United Academy, but he did not make his breakthrough, he played twice in the Premier League, a total of 36 minutes in the 2012/13 season. Newcastle awarded him down to the 5th division, Gateshead, Shrewbury or the Mk Dons. In 2014, the Magpies sold him to Wigan Athletic for 100,000 euros, which in turn passed him on to Bristol City. In 2015 the Rangers bought him for 250,000 euros.
that compare with Alexander-Arnold
Tavernier started with the second division team at the time. The fans were amazed at ten goals and 18 templates in the first season. Striker Kenny Miller, one of the profiteers of Tavernier flanks at the time, remembers in the BBC interview: “TAV came as an unknown size, but you immediately saw his qualities.” Today, the ex-colleague is a modern right-back, as fierce as Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold. But also similarly defensive. “He is a much better defender than his reputation,” Miller claims. But as the leader of the team, failures would often be tightened to Tavernier first. “Sometimes you are too fast to call someone as legend. But at TAV we were rather too slow.” Nobody expresses the spirit of the club better than Tavernier. Like the Rangers, he struggled up from the lowlands, from Gateshead to Seville.
“And his numbers are terrifying,” adds Miller.
In 345 competitive games for the Rangers, Tavernier scored 83 goals and gave over 100 assists, this season alone there are 18 goals and 17 templates.
Many center forwards dream of such values.
“He has this drive,” explains his coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst, which is why Tavernier is so difficult to defend.
At the same time, the Dutch repeatedly praises the defense work of his leader on the field in order to direct the concentration on the actual task.
Tavernier himself tries to keep the hype around his person.
“We tried to make the club a little better every year. And this final is the reward,” he says.
He does not say that it would hardly have been possible without the marathon man.
Others are already talking about him enough.