Glasgow Rangers manager Steven Gerrard must give Nathan Patterson the time to shine at Ibrox amid interest in James Tavernier.
Rangers sporting director Ross Wilson recently revealed that the club are pleased with Patterson’s progress as he has become a fully-fledged member of the first-team squad.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, Danny Mills believes that Tavernier will not go down without a fight. The former England international insisted that the captain will relish the competition for the right-back slot but won’t be prepared to give up so easily.
He said: “You need strength in depth and of course, as a young player you look up to senior players and see what they’re doing and they can learn for them.
“I’m sure he will give him tips, but Tavernier will want to make sure that he continues to play at the level he’s at so the younger generation don’t get a chance.
“When younger players are coming through you think ‘you want my shirt, I’m not going to give it to you, you’re going to have to rip it off my back, you’re going to have to be playing so well that the manager has no other option but to leave me out.’
“It will not be something Tavernier will be prepared to give away easily. Competition for places drives players.”
Reports in recent times revealed that the £4.5m-rated ace is still a target for Leeds United, despite Rangers rejecting approaches for the skipper in the summer and they are expected to rebuff any similar attempts in the coming months ahead too.
Patterson’s appearances have been limited to just 52 minutes of playing time in total in all competitions so far this season but he will probably be denied a temporary switch away from the Ibrox outfit in the winter transfer window as Gerrard has a shortage of viable right-back options following the departures of Matt Polster and Jon Flanagan.
Meanwhile, Tavernier has played in every single game in the Scottish Premiership this season, scoring eight goals and supplying six assists, which has led to calls from fans and pundits alike like Alan Hutton for Gerrard to give the club captain a well-earned rest.
It’s notable that Patterson didn’t hesitate to accept a call-up by Scott Gemmill’s Scotland U21 international side, having spent a considerable amount of time on the bench at his boyhood club, so it’s perhaps hardly surprising that he struggled to make much of an impression when played out of position on the right of the midfield.
The Ibrox boss surely must realise the 19-year-old needs to be playing on a consistent basis to continue to grow and improve as a player rather than giving him a few minutes here and there as that will be detrimental to his development.
Former Rangers goalkeeper Wes Foderingham has spoken highly of Patterson’s “superb” ability in the past, saying (via quotes by FourFourTwo): “Nathan has done really well, he performed really well in Dubai and in training he has looked very strong, so I think he deserved his chance tonight.
“He grabbed the opportunity with both hands and was superb up and down the line and crossing into the box. I think the club will be really excited with Nathan.”
Gerrard has recently raved about the full-back and says he can push Tavernier for a place in the starting line-up.
“It’s interesting to watch Borna [Barisic] and James because they’ve now got big competition for places,” he said, via The Scottish Sun. “The way he’s looking in training, I wouldn’t think twice about putting Patterson in to start a game.
“And [Calvin] Bassey has already proved that he’s capable of stepping in as well. Both James and Borna know they have a challenge for their positions, which is good.”
Despite Gerrard’s comments, his chances have been few and far between, so if Tavernier does end up leaving the club in the near future and Patterson fails to live up to his obvious potential, Gerrard will only have himself to blame. Giving him a cup run, at least, would be a good start. One thing’s for sure, the Gers have a real talent on their hands – they just need to get the best out of him.
AND in other news, Dado Prso 2.0: Glasgow Rangers must regret not signing Lyndon Dykes…