It did not take long for James Tavernier to show exactly why Steven Gerrard decided to hand him the captain’s armband on a permanent basis this summer.
The 26-year-old made the difference as Rangers edged to an uncomfortable 2-0 Europa League qualifying victory over Macedonian outfit Shkupi on Thursday night. It was his superb ball that put the opener on a plate for the impressive Jamie Murphy and, with just minutes remaining, Tavernier gave the Gers a two-goal advantage ahead of the second leg with a coolly-taken penalty.
Tavernier was one of Rangers’ most useful attacking outlets last season, too, notching nine goals and nine assists from a right-back spot. And the former Newcastle youngster has started this season in real style.
So the prospect of Rangers cashing in on Tavernier for just £3 million now looks baffling to say the least.
The Mail (18 June, 2.29pm) had claimed that Rangers could sell the in-demand full-back amid interest from Swansea City and Crystal Palace. But Tavernier proved once again on Thursday that he is absolutely indispensable and Rangers would struggle to find anyone of a similar quality for just £3 million.
With the captain’s armband now clasped around his bicep, it seems that Gerrard too has come to the conclusion that cashing in on Tavernier would be a massive mistake.
Tavernier is not only a leader and a player who seems to get better every season, he is also one of the biggest creative influences in Rangers' squad and a man capable of making the difference when it counts.