James Tavernier praises Fashion Sakala but jokes he wants his striker spot at Rangers

James Tavernier and Nathan Patterson shared the pitch at Ibrox again for a few fleeting minutes against Real Madrid as Steven Gerrard continues to seek a solution with his captain and defensive prospect both vying for similar Rangers roles.

Rangers' James Tavernier. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

The club captain was moved into an advanced midfield position after an hour on the right-side of defence before Patterson’s introduction and his eventual substitution.

It’s a conundrum Steven Gerrard believes he can solve and one he trialled against Arsenal as well as this weekend’s friendlies but Tavernier has his own solution – play him up front.

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Last season's top scorer at Ibrox has joked he wants a striker’s role in the team before, and repeated it again after the win over Carlo Ancelotti’s team.

But seeing Fashion Sakala open his Rangers account with the equaliser on Sunday, he might have to wait even longer for his chance to show his own attacking ambitions, though Tavernier was delighted to see his new team-mate score his first Rangers goal.

“He's a great lad and always has a smile on his face. He deserved [a goal] because he worked extremely hard for the boys. He took his finish really well so I'm really pleased for him and hopefully he can get loads of goals for us in the future,” he told Rangers TV.

Sakala was substituted shortly afterwards in a three-way switch that saw Tavernier’s midfield move forward and he added: “It's something that the gaffer is trying and I'm happy if I'm on the pitch so we'll see how it goes in the weeks to come.

"But it's one of those where if I can help the team whenever I'm playing I will. I've always said I want to try that number nine spot and just waiting on the nod from the gaffer,” he joked.

However the serious stuff begins for Rangers on Saturday after pre-season concluded with the win over Real Madrid to cap six weeks of preparations for the new season starting against Livingston.

He added: “I'm happy it’s over now. We always put the hard work in to be prepared and we have really set up the fixtures to prepare for the league and the Champions League qualifier. We are in a good place to get to work next week and really push on.”

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