Former Rangers midfielder Joey Barton has claimed that the side’s current skipper James Tavernier never got a move to a bigger side in the English Premier League because he can’t defend.
The Fleetwood Town manager had a brief stint at Ibrox during his playing days, and he was at the receiving end of a 5-1 shellacking from Celtic in his only Old Firm derby in September 2016.
Barton ended the last 15 minutes of the clash as a centre-back after Philippe Senderos’ dismissal left Mark Warburton without a recognised centre half replacement on the bench.
He played alongside Tavernier at the back and was far from impressed with the defending of the right-back.
“When Senderos is sent off he makes a substitution which puts me as the middle man of a back three with Lee Wallace and Tav right and left side centre half of a back three with ten-men against Celtic and we are already behind,” Barton said on the Football CFB podcast.
“Now Tav can’t defend. Everybody knows that.
“He is great going forward, whips a great ball in but can’t defend for toffee. That’s why he has never kicked on.”
Newcastle United and Aston Villa were both linked with the 28-year-old last summer, but a move didn’t materialize as the clubs couldn’t agree to terms of a transfer with the Light Blues.
Tavernier has played 232 games across all competitions for Rangers since arriving in the summer of 2015, making the PFA Scotland Team of the Year last season.
He started out at the Leeds United academy before beginning his professional career at Newcastle United.
However, Tavernier only made two Premier League appearances for the Magpies, spending most of his tenure on loan in the English League One and Championship prior to moving to Ibrox.