James Tavernier Deserves Scottish Player Of The Year Award

Rangers have enjoyed an wonderful season this year with Steven Gerrard’s men securing the Scottish Premiership title last month!

Many of the Rangers players deserve a huge amount of credit for their club’s success this term and a few will probably receive nominations for individual awards once they get announced.

Veterans like Allan McGregor and Steven Davis have been superb. Centre-back Connor Goldson has been immense. Forward Alfredo Morelos has been a better all-round attacker, which has been a big bonus for his teammates. Winger Ryan Kent has also enjoyed a good season, especially at the start of the campaign.

Yet for me, I have to single out right-back and Gers club captain James Tavernier as my pick for Player of the Year.

James joined the club back in 2015, when then boss Mark Warburton brought him up from Wigan Athletic (Source Sky Sports)

In his first season at Ibrox, Tavernier showed that he was a right full-back that loved being on the front-foot and bursting forward. He also showed in that year in the Scottish Championship that he had a keen eye for goal, notching up ten league goals during a campaign that saw Rangers win promotion to the top tier.

Then in his second and third seasons in Govan, Tavenier (like the team as a whole) were too inconsistent. Again there were no issues with him bombing forward but question marks surrounded his ability to defend, especially in the important fixtures.

Being a right-back, you are classed as a defender before anything else. You have to be able to get back and make tackles or you become a bit of a luxury and one your team cannot afford if they aren’t winning football matches.

Some of the Gers support started to wonder if Tavernier was too complacent at the back? Was he making too many mistakes?

Then Steven Gerrard entered in 2018.

The Gers gaffer handed his fellow Englishman the captain’s armband and Tavernier seemed to grow with the added responsibility.

James Tavernier gave his account on when he was given the captain’s role:

“He asked me where my head was and I said I was fully committed to this club, that I have unfinished business here and I want to see this club do well.”

“I could never have imagined being named captain of Rangers when I first arrived here but I always knew one of my ambitions was to be a captain one day. I have always seen myself as a leader and this has come at a perfect time.”

Via Daily Record

It’s interesting because if I had to sum up Tavernier as captain under Gerrard, ‘fully committed‘ hits the mark.

He’s a player that will always run and run. Even when things haven’t gone well, you’ll notice that James doesn’t shirk his responsibilities or go and hide from the ball.

Defensively, the right-back has developed. He’s stronger in the challenge. The twenty-nine year old doesn’t rush in, he has become smarter and pounces when an opponent makes a mistake.

As a team, Rangers have been dominant at the back.

They’ve only conceded ten times in thirty-three Premiership outings thus far. Tavernier has played a big part in that. On average the Englishman is making around 2 tackles per game, that’s more than any other player at Ibrox. It is worth noting that most of those tackles have been clean, the defender has only received two yellow cards in the league in his twenty-nine appearances.

While the marauding full-back has vastly improved on his defensive game, James also hasn’t stopped going forward and doing his bit in the final third of the field.

Incredibly the right-back (along with Morelos) leads his side’s Premiership goalscoring tally with eleven strikes to his name. Yes, quite a few of those have come from the spot but that’s still a phenomenal record for any defender in one season!

As if that wasn’t enough Tavenier also leads the way in assists. No player in Scotland’s top flight has bettered the nine assists he has provided for his teammates.

James Tavernier has stuck around at Ibrox, when other maybe less committed or hardy would’ve left. He’s probably the best player to point to when you want to show the impact that Steven Gerrard has had on the club, because of his determination to improve and give his all for the badge.

This term Rangers have simply been the best!

They have out scored all their opponents and they’ve also got by far and away the best defensive record in the league. Their club captain has been the epitome of both that free-scoring forward play and that stubborn backline.

That’s why James Tavernier would be my pick for Player of the Year!

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