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Everton: Nathan Patterson can reignite Lampard’s team

Everton might have struggled on Saturday as they ran out a bore draw on the road against Fulham, but the game will have ended leaving Evertonians in a positive mood.

Not because of the scoreline, or even the performance, but the return of Nathan Patterson on the 64-minute mark.

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The Scotsman had been injured since the back end of September, with an initial five-week outlay predicted. However, just ahead of schedule, the 21-year-old made his triumphant return.

Although many fans might be calling to see James Garner handed a start, in an attempt to recapture that spark that saw them go six unbeaten earlier in the season, it might just be the return of the youth, speed and directness that Patterson brings that could instead achieve this.

It is no surprise that their three losses on the bounce all came in his absence.

For his debut season in the Premier League, his average SofaScore rating of 6.97 is certainly impressive. He boasts a physicality that far belies his youth, and despite joining the Toffees full of fine recommendations regarding his attacking play, he has been rock solid thus far.

However, journalist Joe Thomas actually claimed that: “Nathan Patterson is Everton’s best attacking outlet”, with Frank Lampard expecting a “strong” future for him at the club.

Averaging 3.5 tackles and 2.5 clearances, Patterson has been a huge part of the defensive turnaround made at Goodison Park. To go from a side that last season shipped 66 to the third-best defence in the division is no small feat.

Although he might be yet to contribute offensively, the fact that he has missed one big chance and created one himself suggests that he is slowly acclimatising, getting in the right positions to become more of a threat.

The all-around game of someone so young makes him an underrated commodity for this level.

The defensive “diamond” – as dubbed Danny Murphy – certainly offers more than the ageing Seamus Coleman, and his inclusion over him is far more important to the team than if Lampard was to drop Idrissa Gueye for Garner.

Although the former Manchester United man might promise much, with his limited cameos from the bench offering glimpses of his quality, it is the return of Patterson that will surely stir fans on Merseyside.

His inclusion in the run-up to the World Cup could be instrumental in reigniting Everton and finishing this portion of the season with a bang.

Article title: Everton: Nathan Patterson can reignite Lampard’s team

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