James Tavernier assesses short-term progress under new manager as Rangers captain identifies one team-mate that can shine in ‘big leagues’ in the future
The full-back insists the Nigerian international has all the attributes to play at the highest level
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The midfielder has excelled under the guidance of new Light Blues manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst in recent weeks and netted his sixth goal of the campaign during their 2-0 victory over Hearts on Sunday.
Tavernier is confident there is plenty more to come from the Nigerian international and stated the 25-year-old possesses all the attributes to perform at the highest level.
He said: “He’s an unbelievable player. He’s got all the attributes to become a top, top player and hopefully I can see that one day (and see) him playing in the big leagues.
“He’s got all the ability and he’s adding numbers to his game now. I think that’s key for him, to keep adding to those numbers with his assists and goals.
“His ability shines through in every game but as soon as you add the goals and assists to it, then it takes you to another level.
“Hopefully he can continue that because he’s been a great asset for us this season.”
Last season’s double-cup winners St Johnstone are the visitors to Ibrox Stadium this evening as the Light Blues look to maintain their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership table.
Tavernier admits the reaction from the playing squad since Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s arrival as manager has been emphatic.
He added: “Since we lost to Hibs, we’ve won every league game and drew against a very good opponent in Lyon, so I think the reaction has been pretty clear.
“The boss came in after that game, we’ve implemented his plans and we’ve moved on from that result and got stronger with each game.
“I think anyone who comes to Ibrox is always aiming to upset us by going into a low block and trying to frustrate us.
“We’re always wanting to be dominant at home and have most of the possession, so that will, more or less, mean others teams set up defensively.
“We’ve just got to find the right solutions, we’ve got a game plan that we’re been working on for the past couple of days, so it’s a case of being at it from the first minute and getting the right result that we need.”
Under the Dutchman’s style of play, both of Rangers full-back’s have not advanced as far forward as previous boss Steven Gerrard had them playing.
Tavernier revealed Van Bronckhorst has come up with various ways of approaching different opponents and the full-back is eyeing a fourth consecutive domestic clean sheet tonight.
He confirmed: “It just varies in terms of who we are playing against and what tactics the other team is using. The boss has come up with an abundance of different tactics that we can do against different opponents.
“It’s always changing. Sometimes we might be high, sometimes we might be low but it’s a case of listening to what the boss wants us to do and so far so good. We’ve got the results we wanted to get and we’re just trusting everything he is doing.
“All the players are delivering, so we’ve just got to keep going, working hard at it and focusing on the smaller details. From this day forward we’re just going to get better.
“We were extremely proud of the clean sheet record that we kept last season. Going into a new season you obviously want to replicate it or beat it. You never really want to go beyond it, you always want to try and get as close as possible.
“We conceded quite a few goals at the start of the season but I think now with the shape that we’re playing and the details we’re fine-tuning, it’s making opponents have fewer chances and if they do get a chance then we have the right bodies around it.
“We’re constantly trying to work on things, improve ourselves and keep this clean sheet run going because we know we’re going to create lots of chances at the other end.”
Rangers were handed a glamour tie against German giants Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League knockout play-off round earlier this week and Tavernier admitted he cant wait to test himself against the Bundesliga outfit.
He stated: “I’m really looking forward to it. You always want a big name and they’ve got world-class players.
“As a footballer you want a stage in your career to play against the best players and it will be a great occasion for us. Obviously the games are in February but we’re excited and can’t wait for it to come.”