Rangers skipper James Tavernier might’ve wound up this season’s Europa League top scorer, but Gareth Southgate’s latest squad shows why he hasn’t got an England look-in.
The flying Rangers wing-back has matured into one of the most dynamic and potent defenders in the game and had he come from any other country, we suspect he’d be a shoo-in for a first-team place.
But unfortunately for the ex-Newcastle United and Wigan defender, James Tavernier isn’t exactly the only right-back the Three Lions are blessed with as England name their latest squad.
In this squad alone, there are five recognised right-backs, with as many as eight of the side having played in the position in their careers.
There is a literal embarrassment of riches on display in this area of the pitch for England as five high-profile stars are chosen ahead of the Rangers captain.
But this only tells part of the story.
Rangers captain James Tavernier faces impossible England competition
Liverpool’s Trent Alexander Arnold (Academy), Chelsea’s Reece James (Academy), Leicester’s James Justin (£8m), Newcastle’s Kieran Trippier (£12m) and Man City’s Kyle Walker (£53m) are just the right backs who made the squad.
This is a squad which does not contain £50m Man United right-back Aaron Wan Bissaka, Norwich City’s Max Aarons, or Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey, who is considering representing Ghana such is the depth of competition in the position.
Now 30, Rangers captain James Tavernier has probably made his peace with the fact that he will likely never get a call-up to the England national team.
But given the England golden generation in this solitary position, it’s not something either Tav or the Rangers support can realistically ever demand anyway, save a few moments of getting carried away.
The truth is the Ibrox skipper is just mightily unlucky and had this been a different era, we’re sure we’d be seeing Tavernier bombing down the right of Wembley much like Ibrox.
Meanwhile, a former Rangers star has pipped an ex-Ibrox teammate to a highly coveted job in the Scottish Championship.