Rafa Benitez didn’t exactly enjoy the best of spells at Everton. The Spaniard was sacked in January having been in charge for just six and a half months – with the club hovering above the relegation zone.
Despite the poor performances, Benitez did manage to make one of the club’s better moves in the transfer market of late, bringing Glasgow Rangers defender Nathan Patterson to Goodison Park in a deal worth £16m.
The right-back had broken through the youth ranks at the Ibrox side and made his debut against Stranraer in the Scottish Cup, eventually making 27 senior appearances for the Light Blues. However, a regular spot at right-back was always going to be tough with club captain James Tavernier being a mainstay in the position.
With Frank Lampard taking over from Benitez, it took until March for Patterson to make his debut in England. However, he subsequently suffered an ankle injury in April which ruled him out of the remaining weeks of the campaign.
This appears to have made him stronger, as he started the current campaign in excellent form. The £28k-per-week defender featured in Everton’s first seven Premier League matches, averaging an extremely impressive SofaScore match rating of 7.07 – ranking him as the Toffees’ fourth-best performer in the top flight of English football.
The 21-year-old has also enjoyed an average of 57.9 touches per match, in addition to completing 42% of his attempted dribbles – proving that he wants the ball as often as possible and is keen to contribute going forward.
However, it has been in a defensive capacity in which he has caught the eye most, making an average of 4.0 tackles, 1.3 interceptions, and 2.7 clearances per match, while also showcasing his strength by being dribbled past only 0.6 times per game.
An injury on Scotland duty has stalled his progress recently, however, he should take confidence from how he bounded back from surgery last season and look to continue these fine performances when he is back in the team.
Writer Peter Guy has stated that Everton have gotten themselves an “absolute diamond” following Patterson’s performance against Liverpool in September and there is no doubt that, considering his undoubted potential, the youngster can become a legend at Goodison Park.