Steven Gerrard praises Rangers captain James Tavernier after an excellent display

Rangers - James Tavernier had an excellent performance against Maribor on Thursday night

Steven Gerrard insisted that he wants James Tavernier to remain at Ibrox throughout his tenure while praising the captain's inspiring display against Maribor.

Tavernier scored a crucial penalty in the second half, cornered by the goals of Alfredo Morelos and Lassana Couilbaly, while the Rangers added a 3-1 advantage in the first leg of the third round of the Europa League.

The right-back also contributed vital defense blocks to shine only 24 hours after West Bromwich Albion failed with an offer of £ 2 million for its services.

Rangers - James Tavernier had an excellent performance against Maribor on Thursday night

Rangers – James Tavernier had an excellent performance against Maribor on Thursday night

He remains a key player for Gerrard, while Josh Windass completed a £ 2.5m move to Wigan and Declan John was sold to Swansea for £ 800,000.

Gerrard made it clear that Tavernier had not been affected by any speculation about his future and backed the Englishman to improve further in Ibrox.

"James knows what I think of him," Gerrard said. "It was a great decision to make him the captain of this football club.

& # 39; Talk to him every day. It depends on James if he tells you what has been said between us in recent days, but he has had my full support and support. I want James Tavernier here while he's here.

– He was magnificent tonight. Look, good players get attention from other clubs. I do not appreciate that attention 24 hours before a great game. I would like a phone call from (manager of West Brom) great Darren (Moore) at some point.

"But listen, I've been in the game for a long time and good players attract attention and things like that happen and to be fair, James handled it very well and that was probably his best performance so far.

Steven Gerrard praised his captain for putting aside speculation about his future for the draw

Steven Gerrard praised his captain for putting aside speculation about his future for the draw

Steven Gerrard praised his captain for putting aside speculation about his future for the draw

"I only met him from the outside when I came in. I'm a great admirer, he has ability, he has power, there's more to come from James, I think he still has gears to get through.

"For me, he can play in the (Premier League) (English) without problems.

"But I realized when I came in that he's a leader and a very nice guy in the dressing room, people respect him.

"He has gone through a lot of turbulence in his time in the club, but he handled it very well, which is why I gave him the bracelet."

Mitja Viler canceled the first game of Morelos before the break when Maribor finished the first half with strength. However, the Rangers produced an excellent display in the second period to increase their chances of reaching the play-off round after next Thursday's second leg in Slovenia.

"I think the second 45 is the best we've seen so far of the Rangers," admitted Gerrard. "It's very similar to how we want it to look, the challenge for us is if we can do it for more than 90 minutes, because if we do, we will be a very good team.

"It's always good to get a bigger advantage in Europe, so the third goal is important for us, but we certainly will not get carried away by the scoring line.

"I thought the players were phenomenal tonight, especially in the second half."

Tavernier took a step forward and scored a penalty kick to put the Rangers 2-1 ahead on their way to a 3-1 victory.

Tavernier took a step forward and scored a penalty kick to put the Rangers 2-1 ahead on their way to a 3-1 victory.

Tavernier took a step forward and scored a penalty kick to put the Rangers 2-1 ahead on their way to a 3-1 victory.

Windass was Rangers' top scorer last year, but Gerrard revealed that the player had been interested in switching to the English Championship.

"Wigan came up with a number that the board was happy with and the board made the decision at the hands of Mark Allen and me," said the Ibrox boss.

"I talked to Josh this morning and I asked him what he wanted to do and he made it clear that he wanted to talk to Wigan.

"I would not get in anyone's way if they want to play for another team in their favorite position.

"Josh wants to be a No9 in every game for Rangers and he could not guarantee that, he could guarantee football matches, but maybe in different positions and formations.

"Maybe (Wigan's manager) Paul Cook said he could be # 9 every week and that may have triggered his decision.

"Josh is a good boy and we get along, but he wanted to talk and I do not want to get in the way if that's what he wants."

Maribor coach Darko Milanic admitted that Rangers had changed things on their side in the second half with a dominant display.

"We could not match our performance in the first half," he said. "Losing that third goal has made things much more difficult for us, but the mission is not yet complete, we will do our best next week.

"I think sometimes we were too slow to keep up with the attacks of the Rangers, who played very aggressively."

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