James Tavernier Rangers absence explained as Steven Gerrard talks up trust

Steven Gerrard hopes he will be able to trust Nathan Patterson more this season – and give Rangers skipper James Tavernier less game time.

The Ibrox captain was a surprise absentee against Hibs with Scotland right-back Patterson preferred during the top of the table clash.

Gerrard insists this is part of a long-term plan to get the best of 29-year-old Tavernier this term.

The gaffer plans to wrap the player in cotton wool, having already seen him play a full 90 minutes against Sparta Prague in the Europa League in midweek.

He believes the best will come from the captain if he puts more faith in teenager Patterson this season.

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Following the win over Jack Ross’ men, Gerrard said: “I think it would have surprised a lot of people, which I appreciate, but Tav is capable of playing 60-65 games a season.

“I know he is because he is a machine and he is very robust.

“But, he had an injury at the back end of last season, and as a manager and a staff we feel we have overused James.

“We’ve had back-ups, but we haven’t had back-ups the quality of Nathan Patterson.

‘We’ve got just as much trust as James as we do in Nathan and vice versa.

“We want maybe less games out of James, but more quality. I believe that will help him put his foot to the floor and it will certainly help the group.

“The boys have trust us and we hope it will certainly pay dividends at the end of the season.”

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