Nathan Patterson primed to make Everton debut - here’s what can fans expect from the ex-Rangers man
Nathan Patterson joined Everton in the January transfer window from Glasgow Rangers and looks poised to feature against Boreham Wood in the FA Cup fifth round.
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Premier League survival is imperative for the Toffees this season.
Sitting just one place and one point above the relegation zone, staying in the top flight is above all else.
Frank Lampard will already be eight players short against the Wood.
He has five out injured, including Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Yerry Mina.
Meanwhile, January signings Donny van de Beek, Dele Alli and Anwar El Ghazi are all cup-tied.
Still, clash against the non-league visitors is a chance for Lampard to rest some of his key players.
It also gives the Everton boss the chance to hand those on the fringes of his squad much-needed minutes.
Captain Seamus Coleman's nous, experience and leadership in a relegation dogfight will be paramount.
It's a fundamental reason why Nathan Patterson has yet to make his Toffees debut.
Patterson has been on the bench for seven of Everton's eight matches since his arrival - but not stepped over the white line for his bow.
When asked about Patterson's lack of game-time last month, Lampard said: “I’ve been impressed with Nathan.
“It’s not been easy, to be fair, to the players. They need to train well but when you can’t see them in matches - I’ve seen bits of Nathan previously - and then revert to the situation we are in, my duty is to make sure we develop young players and find the right time for them to play.
“So far in two games, that hasn’t been the right time but I’m very pleased to work with him.
“People think I love sticking young players in my teams. I do when they deserve it.
“I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve it but, at the minute, he’s in a position where the captain of the club Seamus has been so impressive since I’ve been here and for a long time at the club.
“He needs to work, keep developing, the club have signed him for the future as well as now.
“I will work with Nathan very closely and my staff - who work with the young players in particular - and when he gets his opportunity, I want to see him take it.”
‘Terrific young player’
Indeed, it is crucial for Patterson to impress as he looks primed to feature against Boreham Wood.
If he wants to thrust his way into Lampard's plans for the remainder of the season, an eye-catching performance is required.
The only glimpse Evertonians have got so far of Patterson was an outing for the under-23s.
He featured in a 1-0 victory over Tottenham in January - and duly impressed.
Patterson displayed his athleticism to foray down the right flank and pull back a cross for Lewis Dobbin's match-winner.
That's the sort of thing he was renowned for while representing Rangers and when he's played for Scotland.
Despite his tender age, Patterson has already been capped six times at senior level for his country, scoring one goal.
After signing for Everton, Martyn Simpson from our sister title NationalWorld, gave us an insight into the youngster’s qualities.
Simpson said: “He's a terrific young player that doesn't lack for belief or quality.
“Dynamic, fast, good end product and will probably chip in with the odd goal and get a good few assists.
“He will get forward, burst into the box. I think it's a really good signing.
"The fee of £16 million might sound like a lot but in two years' time, when he's established as the first name on the team sheet or moves to another club for five times that, they'll look back on it and think: ‘That was a sound bit of business’.
“The expectation at Rangers is to win every game they play in.
“Nathan Patterson has been brought up through the Rangers Academy with the belief of win, win, win. You don't ever come away from a game thinking a point was a good result.
“He'd have had that drummed into him from a young age and will know how to deal with expectation and pressure.”