Rangers take on Armenian side Alashkert at Ibrox in the Europa League play-off on Thursday night and Steven Gerrard should keep faith in Nathan Patterson.
Following their disappointing performance in the Champions League earlier this month, which saw the Gers suffer a 4-2 aggregate defeat against Malmo, Gerrard’s side have been forced to settle for another year in the Europa League, although they will only earn a place in the group stages if they can get past Alashkert.
After three consecutive defeats, Rangers bounced back to form with a 5-0 win against Dunfermline in the Scottish League Cup last time out, with several young players impressing against the Championship outfit.
The two standout players at Ibrox were arguably the young full-backs Calvin Bassey and Nathan Patterson, as their attacking quality caused all sorts of problems for Dunfermline.
In comparison, we saw Rangers work the ball out wide to the full-backs on a number of occasions in the 2-1 home defeat against 10-man Malmo, and very rarely did they produce enough quality to trouble the Swedish side’s defence.
Therefore, whilst it would be a huge decision by Gerrard to keep faith in the 19-year-old Patterson over captain James Tavernier, on current form you feel that the Scottish youngster has to start.
Since breaking into the first team, the teenage defender has managed just 17 appearances for the Gers, contributing two goals, the majority of which have come behind closed doors, so Rangers fans haven’t really got a good look at the Scotland international in person thus far.
However, he is clearly an extremely talented young player and deserves regular opportunities this season, if it means Tavernier sitting games such as this out.
Although the former Wigan Athletic man has been a standout in recent seasons, contributing a hugely impressive 65 goals and 92 assists in 293 appearances for Rangers, competition is no bad thing and based on their most recent performances, it is Patterson who should get the nod against Alashkert on Thursday evening.
And, in other news… Transfer report provides worrying update on “outstanding” Rangers star