Steven Gerrard will have a huge decision to make at Rangers in the coming weeks, as with Nathan Patterson continuing to excel at Ibrox, there may well be no place in the team for talismanic captain James Tavernier, who recently made his return from injury.
The 29-year-old was back on the bench as Rangers beat their Old Firm rivals 2-0 in the Scottish Cup on Sunday but could only watch on as his teenage teammate produced another exceptional display in what was his first start in the derby.
Tavernier has been sidelined since February through injury, which has allowed Patterson to establish himself as the first-choice right-back in Gerrard’s side, as he has now made 13 appearances in all competitions this season, also contributing goals against Royal Antwerp and Cove Rangers.
During Premier Sports‘ coverage of the game on Sunday, pundit David Weir was full of praise for the young defender after a rampant first half in which he regularly got past Celtic left-back Diego Laxalt, suggesting that he was having an “outstanding” game and was “playing with no fear”.
The Athletic’s Rangers correspondent Jordan Campbell was also complimentary of his performance after the game, saying:
“Nathan Patterson was terrific again. A first Old Firm start can be daunting but he played with such confidence and authority.”
Therefore, you could argue that Patterson’s recent displays mean that he should keep his place in the side, despite Tavernier being so instrumental in the title win this season.
Certainly, it is a nice headache for Gerrard to have and whilst it would be difficult to keep the club captain on the bench for upcoming fixtures, Patterson will surely want to keep his current form going, as he surely warrants a place in Scotland’s squad for the Euros this summer based on recent performances.
If we compare their average ratings in the league this season, then there is only one winner, as Tavernier’s incredible 7.76 average rating comfortably outscores Patterson’s 6.78 average, however, the 19-year-old is seemingly getting better with every game he plays and will be full of confidence at the moment.
Therefore, Gerrard has a big decision to make when it comes to deciding who to play at right-back in upcoming fixtures as both Patterson and Tavernier have been exceptional at times this season.
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