Newcastle United’s squad has its strong points and its weak points, and unfortunately, it’s abundantly clear that the right-back spot is an area that Steve Bruce needs to improve.
Javier Manquillo, Emil Krafth and Deandre Yedlin have all had chances to make the right-back spot their own, but as of yet, none of those players have managed to fully convince Steve Bruce that they should be first-choice in that spot.
The Magpies’ right-back dilemma has seen them linked with a number of new options in that position, with PSV full-back Denzel Dumfries linked as of late, but all of this could have been avoided if the Magpies didn’t make a costly error back in 2014.
The Tyneside outfit had the solution to their right-back problems right under their noses in the early 2010s in the shape of James Tavernier.
Tavernier has developed into a very talented full-back at Rangers, becoming the captain of a club with one of the best defensive records in Europe, conceding just three league goals in 14 games so far this season.
It’s not just his defensive contribution that is incredible either, he’s the top scorer and the top assister in the SPFL right now, and that’s from right-back.
Of course, you could easily write this off as being symptomatic of the SPFL’s lower standards, but to concede three in 14 games is simply ridiculous at any level, and he’s also been doing the business in the Europa League this season.
It’s not as if top defenders haven’t come from north of the border before, with the likes of Kieran Tierney and Virgil van Dijk being bona fide stars nowadays.
Tavernier was barely given a sniff of a chance at Newcastle before being sold in 2014, but if they had shown a little more faith in him at a younger age, they could have been reaping the rewards right now.