Being the understudy for Glasgow Rangers captain James Tavernier can’t be the easiest job in the world, but Nathan Patterson seems to enjoy the challenge.
The teenage prodigy signed a new deal at the club that will keep him at Ibrox until 2022, but has made just one start so far this season with Tavernier in electric form.
Patterson impressed during his European debut on Thursday night as Rangers beat Lech Poznan in Poland to win the Europa League’s Group D and believes his recent success is further evidence that academy graduates can stake their claim for a place in the starting line-up.
The 19-year-old right-back was effusive in his praise for the club captain, as he admitted he has picked up tips and tricks of the trade from Tavernier in first-team training.
He said, as relayed by The Daily Record: “It’s great. Being side by side with him at training, Tav talks me through it and when I’m finding it tough, I go to him for advice.
“He was good before the game yesterday, making sure I was ready for it and gave me a good confidence boost.
“It’s been great to be a part of a really strong team this season. I really thought we could do well and we’ve started off great, so I hope we can keep the form up.
“I started in the academy and I’m a first-team player now, so I’ve obviously shown there’s a pathway there for everyone if you’re willing to work for it.
“The gaffer has had good chats with me. He’s told me I just need to keep my head down and take any opportunity that comes my way.”
But Patterson’s modesty doesn’t paint the full picture. In fact, far from it, as he has been in such fine form so far this season, despite his chances being few and far between under Gerrard, having played just 118′ minutes of first-team football so far.
Former Rangers fullback Alan Hutton has tipped Patterson for the very top, as he has even backed him to push Tavernier for a place in the starting line-up.
Hutton told Football Insider: “They speak very highly of him, all through the coaching staff at Ibrox. He’s definitely one for the future.”
He clearly has bags of untapped potential, he just needs to be playing regularly if he is to live up to these lofty expectations.
Despite his age, he surely deserves the chance to play a full game in the Scottish Premiership. What better way for Patterson to earn his stripes than by starting him in the dead rubber against Dundee on Sunday afternoon?
With Tavernier linked with a potential Ibrox exit, it may not be too long before he starts to play on a regular basis.
AND in other news, Rangers must recall Josh McPake in January…