Everton’s Nathan Patterson has outlined his commitment to impressing manager Sean Dyche at every opportunity while also hailing the influence of seasoned professionals Ashley Young and Seamus Coleman.
The highly-rated young defender has had to be patient for game time this season, competing with key experienced squad members Young and Coleman for regular minutes on the right of Everton’s defence.
The Scotland international was an unused substitute in both the FA Cup third round clash against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, and last week’s goalless draw against Aston Villa at Goodison.
Young continues to work his way back to full fitness following an injury he sustained during a 2-0 home win over Chelsea in December, while Coleman’s absence from the squad for Wednesday’s 1-0 win against the Eagles in the third round replay saw Patterson reinstated to Dyche’s starting XI.
The defender produced a commanding performance in his return to the side, minimising the threat of the dangerous Eberechi Eze playing on Palace’s left and finishing the game having made more successful interceptions than any other Everton player (three).
“The Gaffer says to us, ‘Anytime you get an opportunity you have to take it’,” told the defender to evertontv. “It’s good to know you are in his plans for the future, and at present as well. Anytime he plays me from the start, I want to make sure I am doing my best and showing him why I should stay in the team.
“Joao (Virginia) also did that in the last two games he played, especially on Wednesday against Palace. He made some top saves and kept a clean sheet for us – that’s what you expect.”
Despite having to compete with both Coleman and Young for game time, Patterson explained the important role each plays in his day-to-day development, explaining: “It’s great, you have two of the best in the position who have been in the game a long time.
“It is nice to learn from people like that and take experience because that’s what I am here to do. I am still young, learning and developing, so I take points from each player’s game and speak to them in training as well – to try and get as much as I possibly can. They are two great pros and I look up to them a lot.”
Patterson’s solid performance on Wednesday contributed to Everton securing a third straight clean sheet, and seventh overall from their past 11 matches.
He acknowledged it’s been a fine run of defensive form from the team and stated the gritty nature of Everton’s collective displays since the turn of the year have been the perfect response to a disappointing run of results at the back end of last month.
“Obviously, we’ve had a tough run of fixtures and played against top sides,” said Patterson. “We let ourselves down with some of the goals so to go and keep three clean sheets in three games is what we wanted to do. It gives us the best opportunity to go and win games.
“The main thing is when not playing our best, we are still creating chances, putting teams on the back foot and coming out with a result we want so it’s a positive.”