Steven Gerrard looks to have been handed a boost at Ibrox this week after it was confirmed that Rangers captain James Tavernier has made his return to training after a lengthy injury absence.
The right-back has been out injured since Rangers’ 4-3 win against Royal Antwerp in the Europa League in February, and although Gerrard was able to steer his side to title success in the absence of the 29-year-old, his goals and assists have been a big miss.
Fortunately, assistant manager Gary McAllister has confirmed that Tavernier has now made his return to training, although it sounds as if he is doing solo training on the grass with physios rather than with the rest of the first team.
The former Wigan Athletic man has been in outstanding form ever since making the move to Ibrox in 2015 but has been sensational so far this season, contributing 11 goals and nine assists in 29 league appearances. That has seen him average a superb 7.76 WhoScored match rating, which comfortably ranks him as Rangers’ best performer in the Scottish top flight.
Tavernier couldn’t have timed his return much better after it was revealed that Nathan Patterson will be suspended for Rangers’ next four fixtures as a result of him breaking lockdown restrictions earlier in the year.
This leaves Gerrard without a natural right-back in his squad at the moment, and after some disastrous performances from Leon Balogun in that position in recent games, the manager will surely be delighted that Tavernier is close to a return to action.
If the English defender can pick up where he left off before his injury, there seems no reason why Rangers can’t finish the league season unbeaten, whilst they will also be eyeing success in the Scottish Cup.
Gerrard is certainly a big fan of his captain and was full of praise for him earlier in the season, saying: “I think Tav is someone who, when he goes through the gears, is unstoppable, and we have seen that, or flashes of that so far this season.”
Therefore, it is undoubtedly a huge boost for Gerrard that his best performer this season is edging closer to a return to first team action, as it seems clear that Rangers are a much better outfit when he is in the side.