If there’s one major blot on Neil Warnock’s hugely impressive CV it’s probably that 14-month spell in charge of Leeds United from 2012 to 2013.
A man who guided Sheffield United and Cardiff City to promotion while sparking remarkable turnarounds at Rotherham and Middlesbrough never came close to dragging Leeds away from the mediocrity of mid-table.
But while the evergreen 72-year-old is hardly Mr Popular at Elland Road, even his West Yorkshire-based detractors would struggle to argue that Warnock isn’t a brilliant manager at second-tier level.
And the Boro boss certainly knows a thing or two about turning promising youngsters into players capable of having an impact on a game week in, week out at Championship level.
Take Marcus Tavernier, for example.
The Boro academy graduate had been pulled from pillar to post during a run of four managers in four years at the Riverside. But it’s no coincidence that since Warnock replaced the rookie Jonathan Woodgate last season, the academy graduate has been playing the best football of his young career.
According to TEAMtalk, Tavernier’s speed, skill and improving end product hasn’t gone unnoticed at Warnock’s old stomping ground Elland Road either.
Leeds, like Everton, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City, are all taking an interest in a young winger born within the LS postcode.
“I think he’s got a few strings to his bow, if I’m honest,” Warnock has said of Tavernier, comparing the 21-year-old to another young attacker who honed his talents in the Championship (Gazette Live).
“I looked at Mason Mount the other night and how he’s come on in 12 months.
“There’s no reason why Tav can’t do that in the next 12 months if he motivates himself and listens.”
Arguably the most improved player in a Middlesbrough team that has blossomed from relegation candidates into play-off contenders since Warnock’s arrival, don’t bet against Tavernier joining Mount in the Premier League next season.
Whether he’ll be playing top-flight football at the Riverside, only time will tell.