James Henry Tavernier (born 31 October 1991) is an English professional footballer who plays as a right-back for Scottish Premiership club Rangers, where he is club captain.
After starting at the academy of Leeds United. He began his professional career at Newcastle United, spending most of his tenure on loans at six lower teams, including Rotherham United where he won the League One play-offs. In 2014, he signed for Wigan Athletic, where he admitted that he struggled. He spent the second half of his only Wigan season on loan at Bristol City, playing more consistently as they won League One.
Tavernier signed for Rangers in 2015, winning a double in his first season. He scored the goal that won Rangers the Scottish Championship, and was man of the match as they won the Scottish Challenge Cup, scoring a long-range volley in the final.
Born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, Tavernier joined the Leeds United youth system at the age of nine after being picked up from local club Farsley Celtic, where he played six seasons having played a season in goal before moving to a central midfield role.
Tavernier moved to Newcastle United in 2008. He made his first team debut in a 2–0 defeat against Peterborough United in the League Cup third round on 22 September 2009, playing the full 90 minutes.
On 7 January 2011, Tavernier joined Gateshead of the Conference National, along with Newcastle teammate Jóan Símun Edmundsson, on a 28-day loan. He made his debut the next day, in a 1–1 home draw against Kidderminster Harriers. Afterwards, his loan deal at the club was extended until 9 April. Gateshead manager Ian Bogie commented by saying Tavernier had a big future in the game. He was recalled by Newcastle on 24 March because of a suspension picked up by defensive cover player James Perch in a reserve team game. Tavernier appeared on the bench for Newcastle's 4–1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on 2 April.
On 11 August 2011, Tavernier joined Football League One team Carlisle United on an initial one-month loan that was extended to mid-November a month later. Just like his Gateshead counterpart, Carlisle manager Greg Abbott was impressed by Tavernier. He came back to Newcastle after a successful loan spell during which he made 17 appearances. Tavernier joined fellow third-tier team Sheffield Wednesday on 21 November, on loan until 9 January 2012. On 31 January 2012, Tavernier joined a third League One team, Milton Keynes Dons, on loan until the end of the season. His loan spell was cut short after he was recalled by Newcastle due to injuries to first-team defenders.
Tavernier made his European debut on 23 August 2012, playing the entirety of Newcastle's 1–1 draw at Atromitos in UEFA Europa League qualification. He totalled seven appearances for the team across four competitions that season, making his Premier League debut on 29 September by coming on for Steven Taylor in the 56th minute of a 2–2 draw away to Reading. Tavernier joined Shrewsbury Town on 26 July 2013 on an initial month-long loan, but returned to his parent club early having aggravated a pre-existing metatarsal injury. He joined Rotherham United on 28 November 2013 on a short-term emergency loan deal. Two days later on his debut at the New York Stadium, he scored his first career goal to conclude a 4–1 win over Gillingham. He totalled five goals in 27 games – all starts – including both on 29 March 2014 in a 2–1 win over Bristol City. Tavernier won promotion to The Championship with Rotherham, beating Leyton Orient on penalties in the play-off final at Wembley Stadium on 25 May.
Tavernier signed for Wigan Athletic for an undisclosed fee on 28 June 2014. He made his Championship debut on 9 August, replacing Don Cowie for the final 18 minutes of a 2–2 draw with Reading at the DW Stadium in the first game of the season.
Tavernier signed for Bristol City on loan on 15 January 2015 for the remainder of the season. He scored three times in 12 games for the champion Robins, including two on 14 April in a 6–0 win at his hometown team Bradford City.
On 20 July 2015, Tavernier and Wigan teammate Martyn Waghorn both signed three-year contracts with the then Scottish Championship club Rangers for a transfer fee of £200,000 respectively. He scored on his debut five days later from a free kick in a 6–2 win at Hibernian in the first round of the Scottish Challenge Cup, and added another eight days later in a 3–0 win over Peterhead in the same round of the Scottish League Cup at Ibrox.
He scored his first league goal for the Gers in a 5–1 win over Alloa Athletic on 16 August. Tavernier scored again for Rangers from an edge of the box free kick against Hibernian a week later, putting Rangers on top of the Championship; he was awarded Scottish Championship Player of the Month for August and his manager Mark Warburton also received the Manager of the Month award.
In October, after having scored nine goals by that stage in the season, Tavernier admitted that he and Waghorn were short of confidence before moving to Rangers, due to the inconsistency and squad rotation at Wigan. On 5 April 2016, he scored the only goal of the home win over Dumbarton that gave the team the title and promotion back to the top flight after a four-year absence. Five days later in the Challenge Cup Final at Hampden Park, he netted a long-range volley in the first half of a 4–0 victory against Peterhead, and was named man of the match. On 17 April, in a Scottish Cup semi-final against Old Firm rivals Celtic, he missed in the penalty shootout after a 2–2 draw, but Rangers nonetheless won 5–4.
After a strong first season, Rangers offered Tavernier a new contract which he rejected, with media reports citing the financial rewards were not good enough. On 19 July, Tavernier agreed a new contract extension with Rangers and signed a deal until May 2019 two days later.
In July 2018, ahead of the 2018–19 season, Tavernier was appointed new club captain by new manager Steven Gerrard. In Gerrard's first game and Tavernier's first match as captain, Tavernier scored in a 2–0 win on 12 July 2018 against FK Shkupi in the Europa League for Rangers at Ibrox Stadium.
Tavernier's younger brother, Marcus, signed a professional football contract with Premier League side Middlesbrough in October 2016.
4 appearances in the current 2021-2022 Season
Former Youth Teams
Former Senior Teams
Former Club Staff