Phil Smith has offered his thoughts on what should happen to Sunderland’s Anthony Patterson following the signing of Thorben Hoffmann…
The journalist has suggested that the arrival of Hoffmann on loan from Bayern Munich could leave Patterson in a difficult position. Smith has claimed that the 21-year-old could need a loan to the lower leagues for regular game-time due to being pushed down the pecking order by the signing of the German.
“So I think they now have a bit of a dilemma, if you like, with Patterson, whereby they obviously have to make a decision whether they think his development is best served by maybe going on a National League loan, or by staying with the first group every day, so he can keep learning that philosophy, so he can get further embedded in it.”
Lee Johnson must now make a key decision and sanction a loan exit for Patterson in the coming weeks as fans may love to see him get an opportunity elsewhere. If there is a National League club, or perhaps even a team in step two of non-league, in need of a goalkeeper to come in and be their number one, it could be beneficial to send the 21-year-old stopper there.
With Hoffmann coming in to potentially be the number one goalkeeper, as Smith explained, Patterson could end up as the third choice behind him and Lee Burge. This means that the chances of him getting minutes in League One or cup competitions would be limited, provided Hoffmann and Burge stay fit and available.
Therefore, it could be in the best interests of his development to send him out to play regular senior football. At the age of 21, there is no point in him being around the club and not playing any first team games, which is why a loan move could be best for his growth. He would be able to improve as a goalkeeper by playing senior competitive games, which would give him an experience that he will not get in training.
Johnson must allow him to go and get the minutes he needs, even if it is only a short-term deal until January. They could then reevaluate his position in the winter window, with Hoffmann’s and Burge’s performances to take into consideration and the possibility of then being able to get Patterson a loan to League One or League Two.
Fans would love it as it offers Patterson the chance to go out and prove that he is worth using in the first team at the Stadium of Light. Whilst watching either Hoffmann or Burge as their number one, supporters could keep tabs on the 21-year-old in non-league and enjoy seeing him hopefully progress as a goalkeeper and hone his skills with regular on-field minutes.