JAMES TAVERNIER tonight signed a new, improved contract with Rangers, keeping him at Ibrox until 2022, and it’s safe to say he’s thrilled.
The club captain, who joined from Wigan Athletic in the summer of 2015, revealed he’s indebted to Rangers for helping relaunch his career after a tough few seasons in England’s lower leagues.
He also opened up on transfer rumours involving him during the summer window, but insisted this is the only place he ever wanted to be.
Speaking exclusively to RangersTV at Ibrox, Tavernier said: “I am delighted to go through the window and still be a Rangers player, and I have obviously been rewarded with a new contract.
“So I am absolutely buzzing with that and it is thanks to the club and my representatives for pulling it over the line.
“I’ve always seen this as the place for me to play football. Rangers have always been great for me for giving me the foundation to start playing again and to start my career over again, and I will always hold that closely.
“There was a bit of interest in the summer, but I was fully focused on working with the gaffer in this new campaign being captain as well.
“You have everything here – you have the history, you have the fans, you’ve got the new management and the new players and the new team.
“This season, I was really excited for what was going to come with the new team, and the gaffer with what he has brought in terms of the tactics and the new faces.”
Tavernier has grown significantly as a player over the last three years, and he explained how his current position as club captain fulfils an ambition of his from back when he joined.
“It was a dream [to be named captain],” he said. “I set a target when I first came, and said I wanted to wear that captain’s armband within five years.
“I’ve now achieved that. I see myself as a leader and I was over the moon when the gaffer made me the club captain.
“I know some of the boys that have come in, and I know their qualities and what they bring. Even the other lads who I haven’t played with before have shown their qualities early in the season and have done really well for us.
“We have people recovering from injury who are going to add more to the team. This is going to be a good season for Rangers.”
Tavernier is now gearing up for his next step in his Rangers career – the Europa League – having been tested and come through the Championship and the Premiership.
He added: “People talk about big European nights at Rangers, and this is the first thing this season we had the chance to make right, especially after last season.
“So we have made it to the group stages, and we have three great names in our group. For our first game, we are all buzzing for it and we can’t wait to put on a show.
“There have been ups and downs through my career here, but there are definitely going to be more ups from now on. It will be a great test on Thursday and when we come back at the weekend against St Johnstone, that will be another good test.
“We are just wanting to collect as many points as we can from now onwards.”