By Mark Smith

7th Mar, 2022 | 4:00pm

Everton: Nathan Patterson has Goodison Park in palm of his hand despite tough start

It’s not often that a player coming from Scotland to the Premier League at 18-years-old already has a great reputation preceding him, but that is exactly what Nathan Patterson has at Everton.

Rafa Benitez spent up to £16m on the 18-year-old right-back in January shortly before he was given the axe at Goodison Park, after identifying him as the heir to Seamus Coleman’s throne for the position.

But as we enter the second week of March, Patterson has featured for just 45 minutes in a blue shirt coming against Boreham Wood in the FA Cup.

His performance was good as he showed great energy as a wing-back under Frank Lampard, who has since replaced Benitez, but he was still brought off at half-time with the manager opting to change the system.

Some have speculated that the change of manager has already affected his chances of success with the Toffees, but if Everton are smart about the way they play this then they may have made the perfect transfer in the January window by bringing him in.

Jermain Defoe has praised him highly in the past during their time together at Rangers, and under Steven Gerrard, he managed to break into the Rangers first-team to make regular appearances in rotation with captain James Tavernier despite his age.

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He showed tremendous ability to burst forward in attack, good technical ability on the ball, great defensive positioning and was good in one on one duels. Almost sounds like a carbon copy of Coleman, doesn’t it?

In a squad full of experience with veterans like Coleman, Michael Keane, Andre Gomes, Andros Townsend and Allan who are all over 30, an injection of youth was needed.

But there isn’t an immediate need to replace Coleman. Just like when they signed Coleman, there wasn’t an immediate need to replace Tony Hibbert, but slowly he got there and became a stalwart of the club.

This six-month period gives Patterson a big chance to settle in, learn the identity of the club and pace of the Premier League while also growing physically and bulking up a little.

He can learn from Coleman, before eventually battling for the spot of first-choice right-back and then becoming the main man.

Benitez’s reign in the blue half of Merseyside won’t be remembered fondly at all, but if they play this right then they will always be able to thank him for bringing Patterson to the club.

In other Football Wonderkids news, Manchester United talent Zidane Iqbal is now in a position of unique pressure