STEVEN GERRARD has backed James Tavernier to silence his defensive critics after committing his future to Rangers.

The right-back was the subject of interest from West Bromwich Albion during the summer transfer window but this week penned a new deal that will keep him at Ibrox until the summer of 2022.

Tavernier has become a key part of the Light Blues’ attack in recent years but has often come under fire for his defensive capabilities.

That doesn’t concern Gerrard, however, and he is confident his captain will continue to impress and improve at both ends of the park.

Gerrard said: “He’s a very well-liked character and leader within the dressing room. He’s been here through some decent times and through some bad times and that experience certainly helps me.

“To get all speculation out of the way is very important for the club and for James that the deal got signed and sorted and I’m obviously very happy on the back of that.

“I think it’s certainly an area of his game that James is working very hard on to improve. He realises he’s still at an age where you are still learning, you never stop learning in this game.

“I think it’s a difficult one to be such a good attacking right-back and also be perfect defensively. I don’t think there’s many of them in the world.

“People talk about the best full-backs in the world who are superb going forward but every pundit, every media guy, always says ‘well they’re not as good going the other way’. And vice-versa.

“When you get a defender for example like [Jon] Flanagan they say ‘he’s such a good defender, one v one, great’, but then they say ‘ah but there’s nothing in the final third’.

“I think it’s difficult for full-backs to be perfect but what I would say is that James is blessed in terms of his physical profile. I think there’s more to come from him.

“And I think to be fair to him he wants to grow and improve, that’s the most important thing to me.”