Given that James Tavernier has now played a total of 256 games for Rangers across all competitions, it’s quite easy to forget that the Englishman was once on the books at Newcastle, coming through the academy system at St James’ Park.
The 28-year-old made just ten first-team appearances on Tyneside, predominantly playing for the youth teams. And whilst he may not have showed anything in his limited game-time with the senior side, he certainly showed a lot of talent for the U23s, managing five assists in 33 games.
After failing to make the grade at Newcastle, the Magpies sold Tavernier for just £90k to Wigan Athletic in the summer of 2014, and it’s a decision that the club surely still regrets even now.
The full-back has gone on to carve out a very successful career since his departure, and despite playing in defence, has turned into one of the most dangerous attacking players in Britain.
As well as his three goals and one assist at Bristol City, Tavernier has racked up the stats whilst at Rangers, and his kind of numbers are unheard of for a defender – even Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold would surely be proud of it.
The 28-year-old has scored a whopping 54 times for the Gers, and even more impressively, picked up an incredible 78 assists too – it all means that since leaving Newcastle, he’s been involved in 136 total goal contributions. Not too shabby for a right-back.
And with Steve Bruce’s side having had some issues in that position over the years with the likes of Javier Manquillo, Emil Krafth and DeAndre Yedlin all trying to stake their claims to be first-choice, Tavernier’s exit continues to haunt them.
The English ace is in the prime years of his career, and has enjoyed a blistering start to the current campaign too, netting eight times in 13 games. As far as goal-scoring defenders go, Tavernier is right up there with the very best of them.
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