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Leeds United must rue letting James Tavernier go

If Leeds United fans were keeping an eye on the academy during the mid 2000s, then seeing James Tavernier’s name on the books may not be too much of a shock to the system reading it now.

The full-back was a part of the club’s youth system from the age of nine after being picked up from local side Farsley Celtic.

The Bradford-born ace would then spend six seasons at Leeds, predominantly playing in a central midfield role, before eventually making the switch to Tyneside to join Newcastle for nothing.

While Tavernier has since gone to be a star north of the border at Rangers, he admitted that growing up, his biggest Leeds icon was a certain Lucas Radebe.

He revealed: “My idol would be Lucas Radebe. The captain of Leeds, ‘The chief’ as he is known at Leeds. He was a great leader back in the glory days of Leeds and I just remembered him being such a figure at the club.”

But while Radebe may be his inspiration, Tavernier has carved out a real reputation as being one of the most productive full-backs in Europe, boasting an impressive goal record that even puts to shame someone like Trent Alexander-Arnold.

As per Transfermarkt, the Englishman has bagged himself a career total of 86 goals at senior level, with 77 of them coming with the Gers.

What perhaps makes that record all the more impressive in Tavernier’s case, is that he has also stepped up with a whopping 105 assists for the Ibrox side, while it has only come in 335 games – essentially, even as just a full-back, Tavernier averages more than one goal contribution every other game.

It’s been no surprise then that the defender has earned some high praise, including from former Gers boss and current Aston Villa Steven Gerrard who spoke glowingly about his consistency levels.

He said: “When we turned up we knew we had the best right back in the league, and that’s stayed the same. His consistency has been outrageous really. He’s gotten stronger and stronger as the games go on.

“He’s led his team to three European runs in succession, so he deserves a lot of credit. The good thing is he’s available all the time, he puts himself out there, and the numbers for a full-back, no matter what league or what level you’re playing at, are outstanding.”

All in all, the man with a whopping 204 career goal contributions to his name despite predominantly playing at right-back has surely got Leeds wondering what could have been.

AND in other news – Sold for under £1m, now a PL winner: Leeds suffered embarrassment with “special” star

Article title: Leeds United must rue letting James Tavernier go

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