Rangers: Lee Wallace backs new skipper James Tavernier

James Tavernier and Lee Wallace embrace
James Tavernier, left, has been named Rangers captain for the coming season

New Rangers captain James Tavernier revealed he has received the backing of former skipper Lee Wallace, whose future at Ibrox remains unclear.

Wallace is fighting a club fine following a dressing-room altercation with former manager, Graeme Murty.

Steven Gerrard has appointed defender Tavernier, 26, captain for his first season in charge at Ibrox.

"It was obviously tough with the circumstances of Waldo [Wallace]," Tavernier told Rangers TV.

"He has been my captain since I've been here, it's obviously a tough one, and I made sure that I spoke with him first to get his blessing."

Defender Wallace, 30, had been club captain since 2015 prior to the angry exchange with Murty that took place after Rangers' Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Celtic in April.

Steven Gerrard surveys Rangers training
Steven Gerrard's first competitive game as Rangers manager comes on Thursday, when the Ibrox side host FK Shkupi

Although contracted to the club for a further season, his future is unclear after being omitted from the Europa League squad submitted to tackle Macedonian side FK Shkupi in the first qualifying round.

Tavernier added: "[Wallace] is there for me if I need any advice. He's a top lad and he's said that if I need any help in any areas, he's willing to do so."

The new captain joined Rangers in 2015, helping the club win promotion to the Scottish Premiership and the Scottish Challenge Cup that season.

He has made 140 appearances for the club, scoring 26 goals, and signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract in February.

The Englishman is eager to help Gerrard's men improve upon their third-place Scottish Premiership finish last term.

"It's obviously a massive honour," Tavernier said of the captaincy.

"I found out [last] Wednesday in the morning. I couldn't stop smiling, I was over the moon.

"He [Gerrard] asked me where my head was and I said that I was fully committed to this club. I've said that I've got unfinished business here and I want to see this club doing well.

James Tavernier in action for Rangers
Tavernier skippered Rangers in their 6-0 friendly hammering of Bury

"The gaffer says that the time that I've spent here and the work that I've done underneath him, he thought I was the right man to lead the boys.

"You always have to pinch yourself when you think about what the gaffer's thoughts are on who he'd give the captaincy to. It obviously was in the papers that he was going to think maybe of a new captain.

"I knew one of my ambitions was to captain the side one day. I've always seen myself as a leader and it's come at a perfect time."

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