Alex McLeish: Rangers must ensure sufficient cover for James Tavernier's forays forward
We’re delighted to welcome former Rangers manager Alex McLeish as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Ibrox…
Alex McLeish believes Rangers must ensure there is sufficient protection to cover James Tavernier’s attacking talents down the right after Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to Malmo.
The Gers captain was involved as Malmo attacker Veljko Birmancevic slotted the ball past Allan McGregor to make it 2-0 in Sweden.
Tavernier was near the half-way line and once possession turned over there was very little he could to do get back into position.
When asked whether playing such an attacking full-back can be dangerous, McLeish conceded that sometimes managers have to roll the dice.
Speaking exclusively to Ibrox News, he said, “Yeah. That’s the risk you sometimes have to pay.
“There’s got to be a strategy if James is to be allowed to be that high. He’s got to have the guarantee that there’s somebody to slot into his position when the opposition break against you.
“Normally they’ve handled it pretty well and the centre-backs slide across but you have to say that the opposition exploited them with great technique.“
Ibrox News opinion
What Tavernier offers us in the final third is second to none and given the teams we play against, it’s perfectly fine for him to occupy those kinds of positions for the majority of the game.
However, in matches where we’re not dominating the ball, or if we’re hit on a quick counter-attack, then this team does not look as assured defensively because we’re virtually a man short on every occasion.
As such, it’s dependent on the players in and around Tavernier to offer sufficient protection and cover when he bombs forward.
Look at Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp – Trent Alexander-Arnold plays a similar role down their right-hand side, but he has the likes of Jordan Henderson to tuck in and deputise.
Much needs to be learned from this setback, but Steven Davis’ late goal has given us a huge chance of progressing as long as we do the basics right at Ibrox next week.
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