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Sport Nathan Patterson's Rangers rise from kid with oversized shorts shows he is Everton ready insists former Ibrox coach

09:19  04 january  2022
09:19  04 january  2022 Source:   dailyrecord.co.uk

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Graeme Murty has enjoyed, as a Liverpool and Scotland supporter, watching Andy Robertson grow into everything the modern day fullback should be at the very highest level.

But playing a part in nursing Nathan Patterson into another Scots superstar at the position, on the opposite flank, was another thrill altogether.

Patterson, 20, is on the brink of a blockbuster £10million move to Robertson’s rivals Everton.

And Murty fully expects Patterson to take the English Premier League challenge in his galloping stride.

Murty left his Rangers role as head of elite academy development in November after five years.

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He was Patterson’s development squad coach before the future star stormed into the Ibrox first team scene.

It’s no shock to him that a top English club made it their business to buy big and land the Scotland international.

Murty said: “Look at Nathan’s profile, he fits into any scheme you want to play and has done. The guy can play full back and wing back.

“He’s so adaptable and game intelligent that he could pick up core principles for any system really well.

“So I’m not surprised that there was Premier League interest in him. He’s very clever, he’s funny, he can be intense.

“But what always impressed me was that nothing seems to faze him - whatever the level.

“He goes in with that real sense of confidence, self efficacy. Whatever situation, he can handle. He understands and trusts his own game so well.

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  Nathan Patterson's Rangers rise from kid with oversized shorts shows he is Everton ready insists former Ibrox coach © SNS Group

“Nathan has always had a strong sense of self, an idea of what he’s good at. He doesn’t try to do anything he’s not comfortable with.”

Murty admits he feared the worst before one of his early sightings of Patterson.

Scotland Under 16s faced France at Oriam and the physical difference between Patterson and Khephren Thuram on his side was huge.

But the quality of Patterson’s play was startling - even in a defeat to current Nice star Thuram and more mature colleagues.

Murty recalled: “There’s this little, under-developed guy wearing the biggest pair of shorts I’d ever seen.

“Playing against Lilian Thuram’s son who was 15 and he looked like a man.

“There were some real specimens on the pitch and that one looked like a physical mismatch.

“But I don’t think Nathan gave the ball away once. They just couldn’t get it off him, despite him being physically behind.

“Because his technical capacity, awareness, subtlety and delivery to teammates was top drawer - and that’s always been there.

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“You’re always going to give him that time because you knew if he grew into the man he’s starting to be now then he was going to have a really big impact. He’s looking like a real athlete now.

“He’s very press resistant, which is a good trait to have. The way he deals with pressure situations, with a pass or holding the ball in, is a wonderful part to his game that will stand him really good stead.”

With left backs Robertson and Tierney starring at Liverpool and Arsenal, Patterson hasn’t been short of Scottish role models.

But Patterson was lucky to have James Tavernier to look up to on his side at Rangers.

The Ibrox skipper has, for years, been a freak at assists and goals from right back.

Patterson will have picked up lots from Tavernier, says Murty, to take on his journey.

  Nathan Patterson's Rangers rise from kid with oversized shorts shows he is Everton ready insists former Ibrox coach © PA

Murty said: “Look at the guy who’s been playing in Nathan’s position for Rangers, the club captain.

“And look at what he’s done at Rangers in terms of assists, impact in the final third.

“It’s exactly what you look at from a modern attacking full-back. People say there’s deficiencies in Tav’s game. Well, there’s deficiencies in everyone’s game.

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“Now, Nathan has looked at this guy. You never want anyone to be a clone, a copy. But you look at attributes and try to embrace and bring them to the fore.

“I didn’t really start working with Nathan until he was 16, 17. Now, you may have worked with a player, may have been there and facilitated something.

“You might even be the one coach this player really resonated with. But, ultimately, the player got better - and you helped. That’s what I believe.

“When Nathan made his first team debut, Craig Mulholland and I sat there like two proud parents watching this kid play - just the way he did at 15.

“Receiving it really nicely, driving inside. It looked so easy for him.”

Murty, capped four times by Scotland and a Reading right back legend, admits his role has been transformed.

He added: “Nathan has always been a full back but possesses a level of subtlety and craft that, years ago, they either didn’t have or didn’t need to have because we were only supporting the attack.

“Now they are an integral part of the attack. What you scout at the position now is very different to when I played.

“Nathan, for example, has to be very comfortable in possession, spend a lot of time in the opposition half and possess a final third delivery and impact. Basically he’s a winger, just arriving from deeper.

“Rather than me feeding the ball to a winger, which is what I used to do, he’s actually driving past and doing it himself.

“They’re awesome. Steve Clarke is in a wonderful position with different tactical answers, in personnel, to the different challenges he’s going to face in a game.”

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