Leeds United’s decision to release James Tavernier from their academy set-up in 2008 has turned out to be an absolutely mindless piece of business from former chairman Ken Bates.
The 6-foot right-back failed to impress having been picked up from local non-league outfit Farsley Celtic in 2001 as a midfielder, but after six seasons in Yorkshire, he was free to leave for Newcastle United.
After six loan spells away from the Magpies, Tavernier joined Wigan Athletic before Scottish Premiership giants Rangers took a punt on him in 2015.
But how has he fared since?
Where is Tavernier now?
Well as captain of the Teddy Bears, he’s done rather well for himself. It would’ve been easy to fall out of the game following rejection so early on in his career, but instead, he will have used it as motivation to make a mockery of Bates’ decision.
In the senior game, the 29-year-old valued at £4.5m has directly contributed to 152 goals in 362 appearances, via Transfermarkt, which is quite outrageous considering he’s now a right-back.
Tavernier has also played 42 times in the Europa League, so you could call him a regular in the competition – it’s certainly more European matches than what Elland Road has witnessed in the past decade, that’s for sure.
His performances north of the border have often led to suggestions of a return to the Premier League.
According to the Daily Record, he’s been on the radar of West Ham in the last two windows alone whilst Newcastle have also been linked with bringing him back to the club.
Scottish journalist Scott McDermott once claimed that the Gers shouldn’t entertain bids unless they were around £15m – so you can only imagine what his worth would be if he stayed at Leeds and made it to the top with them.
The former Thorp Arch graduate is so important to Steven Gerrard, lauding his consistency as “outrageous” to Rangers TV as well as dubbing him a “powerhouse.”
Leeds got this one badly wrong, but at least they now have Luke Ayling in the role otherwise the club really would have egg on their face.
AND in other news, Leeds favourite badly let Marcelo Bielsa down during Foxes mauling…
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