Despite the impact of James Tavernier this season and his expressions of his qualities, does he have the attributes to be a Rangers captain? Barry Ferguson, you will never meet a bigger Rangers man. He was a player I grew up watching and along with Nacho Novo, a player I admired. But, even Ferguson was stripped of the armband during his impressive career at the club.
To be a captain at such a prestigious footballing institution, you not only need passion, but determination and leadership. You need to be aggressive yet positive and be truthful when players are below par. With Steven Gerrard at the helm, we could not ask for a better person to spot a skipper. A Champions League winning captain and England captain at two World Cups, Gerrard is full of leadership experience. Despite the love Tav has at Ibrox along with his improvements as a defensive player, does he fit the mould? With other possible great captains, our number two needs to grab his position by the scruff of the neck as captain and prove he has what takes to lead the side.
The idea of stripping Tavernier has been doing the rounds on social media and I have seen this split opinion. Whether fans want a new captain or keep our current one, both sides have created viable views to support their opinion. Of course, our stand-out man this season Allan McGregor has been one of the names suggested to take over the arm band. With 217 appearances for the club, you can see why he has been suggested. Ryan Jack can often be seen bellowing out orders to team mates and for me is a key player in our midfield, who gives players like Arfield and Ejaria the freedom to go forward. So, Ryan Jack is always going to be there or thereabouts when discussing either a new captain or future one if Tavernier went elsewhere. Furthermore, new boy and Rangers man Gareth McAuley, when given his time on the pitch, always acts as a leader of men, using his vast experience. First impressions of this was when Gerrard selected him against Villarreal. Gareth came on and from the get-go was busy organising and sorting out the back-line. Despite all the possible candidates, what has brought this debate to the surface?
On the back of a great result away at Tynecastle, things were looking up. Go and beat Aberdeen midweek and continue the momentum at Dens Park. As we all know this has not gone to plan. The defeat on Wednesday to the Dons has cast a shadow over the Hearts result. After the loss to Aberdeen, the surfacing of the captain’s debate began. It seems that whenever we lose, the questions are asked. But if Steven Gerrard has put the responsibility on James Tavernier, surely this is what matters. For me, McGregor could be a better option. Jack could be a better option. However, they are only ‘could be’s’.
Giving post-match interviews Tav always gives an honest reaction, positive or negative. He does not hide behind anything. If the performance was not good enough, he will admit it. The right back is an influence on the pitch, he takes the penalties, very well and looks to provide assists down the flanks at any given opportunities – and this season has done some essential work on his defensive game. The debate seems a little harsh because it has overshadowed the lack of quality shown at Ibrox in midweek. Despite the idea of a new captain, this is not the answer. In January a new striker to provide further competition from Lafferty towards Alfredo Morelos is a must. Settling on a strong midfield three also needs to be in focus. Giving our captain added pressure could affect his further performances. As a club we need to channel the focus on Gerrard putting his stamp on things more at Ibrox.
In closing, although other players could be capable to take the arm band, and some fans are calling for a change, this is not the priority. Yes, James Tavernier is imperfect, but with Steven Gerrard’s backing we must trust in the process happening at our club. Teams are a better place with more than one leader. It is not all about the right back. Not having the arm band is not a restriction. All players should have their say. Some are more vocal than others but James Tavernier can lead our club with our backing.
Let’s hope he will lead the team out at Dens Park and we can put the Aberdeen game behind us with a few goals. Onwards and upwards.
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