After a changed line-up in the 2-0 home win against St Mirren, does James Tavernier have to get used to a more rotational role?
No matter who the manager has been in recent years, Tavernier has always been a mainstay. Be it Mark Warburton, Pedro Caixinha, or Graeme Murty – Tavernier is always there when it comes to the team-sheet.
However, Borna Barisic’s arrival seems to have made for some interesting potential changes.
Tavernier noticeably took a place on the bench against the Buddies, with both Barisic and Jon Flanagan excelling down the flanks. Flanagan switched to his more-favoured right-hand side, and was a lot more comfortable.
Fans, however, focused their praise on Barisic. His bombing runs down the left gave supporters genuine reason for excitement. Gers fans have been crying out for some creativity down the left, and it would seem that Barisic provides that.
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Therefore, his inclusion in the starting XI may now become permanent.
Where then would this leave Tavernier?
Of course, the option remains there for the popular right-back to shift forward into a right-wing role. This would suit Tavernier’s abilities and attributes down to the ground.
Moving to the right-wing allows Tavernier the chance to make more use of his best attribute – crossing. However, Jamie Murphy and Daniel Candeias also operate there on occasion. Would Steven Gerrard want to risk any unrest by adding even more competition in that area? Nobody knows.
If not, it could be the case that Tavernier has to sit out in more matches than he has been. This might not be a bad thing however.
Despite being one of the fittest players in the squad, 26-year-old Tavernier could do with having more rest. The full-back has started nearly every game for Rangers over the past three years, and his upgrade to captain means he’s still a massive part of the squad.
However, Gerrard will use the players he’s signed first and foremost as he builds his Ibrox legacy. One of the reasons Barisic signed was so Flanagan could jump over to the right.
It all points to a more rotational system. Gerrard made several changes in the win over St Mirren to the side that beat Maribor. Therefore, consistent rotation is no doubt something the Liverpool icon wants to make consistent.
This would only help Tavernier in the long run, and would keep Rangers ticking over in terms of freshness.
It’s not been the norm, but it looks like Tavernier could start becoming accustomed to the bench more than usual.