IT has always been a case of risk versus reward when it comes to James Tavernier and Rangers. This time, the balance was tipped firmly in his favour, though.

There are two sides to the 26-year-old. In an attacking sense, he is the most accomplished full-back in the country, a player who is ideally suited to the modern game and who is renowned for his assists and his goals.

But questions have long been raised about his ability in his own half of the pitch. For some, his defensive capabilities are not what Rangers require and his decision making too often costs his team dear.

Read more: Rangers boss Graeme Murty backs Alfredo Morelos to push for a World Cup berth this summer

Those instances are cropping up less often, however, and the positives now far outweigh the negatives when it comes to Tavernier’s place in the side.

The Ibrox crowd have been split on the Englishman since he first pulled on the jersey following his move from Wigan, but more and more are coming round to the train of thought that Graeme Murty has long held.

The three-and-a-half year deal that he signed this week is a just reward for his efforts at Ibrox. On and off the park, Tavernier has become an asset for Rangers.

Murty said: “We were always planning to do it. He's been one of the stand-out performers in the league this season and I think it shows we want to keep our best players here and get them tied down and if they are doing well, we will address their contract length because it's the right thing to do.

“I've said all the way through we are trying to make something happen and James has been part of that.

"I'm possibly his biggest critic so that's down for someone else to look at [whether he could be Player of the Year].

“I would certainly suggest he's been one of our more consistent performers in the league and I think the amount of goals he has scored from his position is outstanding. I would say he is the outstanding player in his position in the country and we are delighted to tie him down."

It is perhaps no coincidence that the improvements in Tavernier’s game have become increasingly evident since he started working with Murty, who enjoyed a distinguished career as full-back with Reading.

The former Newcastle United kid was an integral member of the squads that Mark Warburton and Pedro Caixinha built, but the success he craves never looked like arriving while the Englishman or Portuguese were in the dugout.

Only time will tell if Murty can finally bring major silverware back to Ibrox. If he does, Tavernier will surely have had a major part to play.

Murty said: "We keep on identifying areas that everyone needs to improve at because it is one of the key fundamentals of a coach - you have to try and keep developing your players.

“James understands that to be an outstanding player consistently he needs to make sure his fundamentals are very sound and of the highest order.

Read more: Rangers boss Graeme Murty reckons he has a team of leaders at Ibrox

“And he knows that one to one defending and decision making are integral to that.

“So he will be working on that, he has been working on that and it's making sure he shows that in key moments in games. If he does do that then I am sure we may have got a bargain in our hands."

The five players – Sean Goss, Jamie Murphy, Jason Cummings, Russell Martin and Greg Docherty – that Murty added to his squad last month could prove the difference between second and third in the Premiership or Hampden joy or heartache this season.

But the deal that Rangers have now completed for Tavernier could prove just as significant in the long-term as plans are put in place for a brighter future.

Murty said: "We decided we wanted to talk to James before he went to Florida because of the level of his play and his ability and also because of the length of his contract left.

“We want our best players here to be happy. He's a very, very confident member of the squad. He's a good member of the squad in terms of the spirit and his mentality.

“But, as with his game, I think there is more to come with him in that regard too. There's a further level of maturity to come too where he can lead more and become a driver of culture.

“And if he does that as we have discussed, it will be a double bonus because not only will we have an outstanding player, but we will have a maturing leader too in a really good changing room.”

The extension to his deal and improved terms on offer were well-earned by Tavernier but Rangers have also protected themselves by tying down one of their key assets.

Murty has previously spoken about his belief in the right-back’s talents and how he has the capabilities to ply his trade in the Premier League.

And he is delighted Tavernier has elected to commit his future to Rangers as he prepares for the next stage of his career.

He said: "I look at Sean Goss who has come in from England to get game time and is hoping to get international recognition and Declan John who wants to get international recognition.

“They are coming here to get on a big stage and to play in front of big crowds, to play in front of a big TV audience and James understands he is in a big shop window, but also the perfect place for him personally to develop his game.

“Not only just now, but he's thinking about his long-term career, he's thinking about taking his game to the next stage.

“We all know the reality of the game that if he gets to the next level and the Premier League big boys look at him, they have the financial strength to take players from this league. But the club at the moment are under no economic imperative to sell.

“We are in the process of building something - we are trying to get to where we want to be and it makes good sense footballing wise to tie down our best players."