James Tavernier explains how experience in Leeds academy can help Rangers

Rangers Gates

Rangers defender James Tavernier can't wait to play physical football.

Rangers defender James Tavernier has told The Scotsman that his experience in the Leeds academy can help him adjust to life in Scottish football.

The 23-year-old right back joined Rangers from Wigan Athletic last month, immediately becoming the first choice right back under new boss Mark Warburton.

His competitive debut couldn't have gone much better, scoring Rangers' first goal in their 6-2 Petrofac Training Cup victory over Hibernian last week and putting in a sublime display throughout.

The former Newcastle man is expected to play a key role in the Rangers side, and he's keen to get going with league action due to what he believes will be a physical brand of football.

The defender has told The Scotsman that his time in the Leeds United academy - from 2001 to 2008 - has prepared him well for physical football due to the amount of 50-50 challenges he went into during his time at Elland Road.

“As a Yorkshireman, we used to love going in for hard challenges. When I was in the academy at Leeds, we’d have competitions to smash into each other. That’s definitely in my game. I love going in for 50-50s," said Tavernier.

"We won’t be going to the most glamorous places and they tend to be the hardest games. Everyone wants to beat Rangers and it will be a battle every time. You’ll see throughout the year we’ll get games where it’s really tough and it won’t be a comfortable season where we’ll have to stick together and have a good battle on the pitch. All the lads here have definitely got that in their locker. I’ve seen that in training with 50-50s," he added.

The Leeds academy has been a conveyor belt of talent over the years, producing the likes of Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Danny Rose, Fabian Delph, Jonathan Woodgate, Alan Smith and Paul Robinson, as well as the current crop of Charlie Taylor, Lewis Cook, Alex Mowatt and Sam Byram.

Tavernier may have left Elland Road for Newcastle in 2008, but it's clear that he believes his schooling at Leeds has helped him become the player he is today.

Plenty of other players have proven just how impressive the Leeds academy really is, but it's now Rangers who could benefit from that with the performances of Tavernier this season, with the player believing he is well built for Scottish Championship football.

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