James Tavernier: 'Rangers' best right-back in a long, long time' - Andy Halliday

Rangers captain James Tavernier
Tavernier is under contract at Rangers until the summer of 2022

Criticism of James Tavernier is "completely unjustified", says former team-mate Andy Halliday, who is surprised no English team has tried to prize the captain away from Rangers.

Part of a defence that has opened the season with six successive clean sheets, Tavernier has been a target for fans' ire in the past.

Halliday told BBC Sportsound: "There are different styles of captain but the most important thing is someone who sets the standard every single day and he does that."

Tavernier, 28, moved to Ibrox in 2015 and was made skipper when Steven Gerrard took over as manager in 2018.

"Yes, he's made mistakes but he never hides," said Halliday, who left Ibrox at the end of last season.

"I think he's the best right-back Rangers have had for a long, long time. Alan Hutton had an incredible nine months to a year (before leaving for Tottenham in 2008) - but outwith that...

"We've been very lucky to hold onto him because I'm surprised nobody in England has come in over the last couple of seasons.

"The most simple way I can put is that Steven Gerrard is probably the most famous British captain over the last 15-20 years - and he made Tav captain."

'If Tav had a time machine, it's maybe something he would change'

Tavernier came in for flak after programme notes in March suggesting the team were "not good enough domestically" to deal with opponents that did not sit back.

The words "whenever anybody puts a bit of pressure on us or gets in our face it seems to affect us too much" prompted a negative reaction from supporters and pundits.

"I think if Tav had a time machine, it's maybe something he would change," said Halliday.

"His comments, I don't think they were valid, there was maybe a bit of emotion at the time.

"Fans have opinions on everyone. They might say 'he can't handle the expectation and the pressure at Rangers.'

"But I certainly don't think Tav comes under that category and if he could take back those comments, I think he would."

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