HE has only played 16 games of first team football for Rangers since making his debut in the senior game last year, has just served a four game ban for breaching strict Covid-19 protocols, last played way back on April 21 and has never been capped by Scotland at full international level.

Yet, many members of the Tartan Army are keen to see Nathan Patterson, the young right back who was outstanding for Steven Gerrard’s team this season after James Tavernier suffered an injury back in February, handed a call-up for Euro 2020 tomorrow all the same.

The 6ft tall 19-year-old is strong, powerful, physical, fast and reliable defensively to boot and he has not been out of his depth in the Europa League games against Lech Poznan, Royal Antwerp and Slavia Prague or Old Firm derbies against Celtic he has been involved in.

HeraldScotland:

National manager Steve Clarke can select 26 players now after UEFA voted to increase the squad sizes for the finals by three due to the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic so he could well include the gifted and promising youngster.

Richard Foster, the former Rangers right back, current Partick Thistle defender and occasional BBC Scotland pundit, is, like so many observers of the game in this country, an admirer of the Scotland Under-21 internationalist and is excited about his ability and enormous potential.

“I have been very impressed and wasn’t surprised when he was shortlisted for the Young Player of the Year awards,” he said. “He probably hadn’t played enough games to win one of them. The guys he was up against, like Josh Doig at Hibernian, Ali McCann at St Johnstone and David Turnbull at Celtic, had played far more.

“But I think he is very good. He is very composed for someone so young. His distribution is very good. He has got great speed is great going forward, but defensively he has been very, very sound as well. As a full-back looking at another full-back I have been exceptionally impressed with him. He has done very well so far.”

HeraldScotland:

Foster, who helped Thistle win the League One title and promotion back to the Championship this season, is confident Patterson will be Scotland’s first choice right back before long if his rise to prominence proceeds apace.

He thinks there will be long-term benefits for the national team if he is involved with the national team at the finals next month and is sure he would handle the step up to international football with aplomb if he was required to play at any stage.

The 35-year-old feels that working alongside left backs Andy Robertson, a Champions League and Premier League winner with Liverpool in the past few years, and Kieran Tierney, who lifted the FA Cup with Arsenal last season, would be eye-opening and show him the level he should aspire to reach.

Stephen O’Donnell of Motherwell and Liam Palmer of Sheffield Wednesday are the two right backs who Clarke has put his faith in during his reign, but Foster suspects Patterson will challenge them for a start in future, possibly even in the Qatar 2022 qualifying campaign.   

HeraldScotland:

“I would like to see him go with Scotland to Euro 2020,” he said. “Because Steve Clarke has now got the extended 26 man squad, he isn’t going to take anyone’s place. If he continues to progress the way he has so far and impress the way he has I think he is definitely a future Scotland right back. Of that there is no doubt.

“I think it would be nice for him to be involved. It is the first time the country has been at the Euros in 25 years and it would be a great experience for him. It would be good for him to be around the other players, the Andy Robertsons, the Kieran Tierneys, those kind of guys, and experience it.

“Maybe in a couple of years time when he is ready to be a regular in the Scotland set-up he isn’t new to the fold. Because of the extra players and the fact that he isn’t going to take anyone who is deserving of being there, I think they should take him.”

HeraldScotland:

Gerrard will find it difficult to accommodate both Patterson and Tavernier, who has reclaimed his first team place since recovering from the knee injury he suffered against Royal Antwerp back in March, in his starting line-up next season.

The Rangers captain was sensational as the Ibrox club won the Premiership for the first time in 10 years during the 2020/21 campaign and his understudy may find starts and game time difficult to come by.

Foster, though, believes that working alongside the PFA Scotland Player of the Year in training and under coaches like Gerrard, Gary McAllister, Michael Beale and Tom Culshaw on a day-to-day basis will help Patterson to develop and is certain that he will go from strength to strength during the 2021/22 campaign.  

HeraldScotland:

“I do wonder how much of an opportunity Nathan will get going forward because unfortunately for him he is playing with the best right back in the country,” he said. “It will be interesting to see how he progresses from here.

“But if you look at the management team he is working under and, as I said, the other right back he has in the squad, I think he can only learn. You hope he uses the opportunity he gets to learn his trade and progress further and further.”