Steven Gerrard has rubbished reports that Rangers captain James Tavernier will miss Thursday’s crucial Europa League clash at Royal Antwerp.
There were rumours surfacing early on Wednesday that Tavernier had suffered a knock in training that would place his participation against Antwerp in serious doubt.
The story originated in the Daily Mail.
The first leg in Belgium is set to be a massive game as the Gers look to take home an advantage that will send them through to the last 16 of the competition.
🎙️ SG: "We have seen recent rumours that James [Tavernier] is carrying a niggle which is fake news – there is nothing in that."
Read more from the manager: https://t.co/vaDmBkqvaL
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) February 17, 2021
The absence of their top scorer and talismanic figure would have been a crushing blow but Gerrard has spoken out to allay fan fears.
As reported by the official Rangers club website Gerrard said: “We have seen recent rumours that James [Tavernier] is carrying a niggle which is fake news – there is nothing in that.”
Tavernier will be expected to continue in his right-back slot as the Light Blues aim to keep up their unbeaten record in Europe this season.
Phew, the main man is fit
We can feel that massive collective sigh of relief throughout Glasgow and beyond.
Not having Tavernier fit and ready for Thursday would have been bitterly disappointing news and who knows how we would have coped.
For a start – who even covers for him?
Nathan Patterson is just 19 and has played only once since December 12 and was recently reported to be caught up in the latest breach of covid-19 protocols.
Whether he would have been afforded the opportunity to impress after such a public show of indiscipline is extremely debatable.
Therefore it might have fallen on the shoulders of Ryan Jack to cover at right-back.
While he is such a reliable performer for Rangers this would have taken a lot away from the midfield and weakened us in two areas of the pitch.
Tavernier has scored five goals nine Europa League appearances this season and is such a vital piece of the Gers side going forward and defensively.
His set-pieces are one of the Gers’ biggest weapons and could be vital to relieve the anticipated early onslaught from Antwerp.
Maybe these reports were just the latest attempts to destabilise the club.
It will not work.
In other Rangers news, Barry Ferguson hits out at Gers players over covid-19 lockdown breaches.