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 did not appear as a substitute in either last week’s goalless draw at Goodison against Aston Villa or the FA Cup third round matchup against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Young is still recovering from an injury he suffered during a 2-0 home victory over Chelsea in December, and Patterson was added back into Dyche’s starting lineup on Wednesday after Coleman was left out of the team for the 1-0 victory over the Eagles in the third-round replay.
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.”
Everton has now kept seven clean sheets in their last 11 games, including three consecutive thanks to Patterson’s strong display on Wednesday.
He said that Everton has been playing excellent defense lately and that their team’s gritty performances since the start of the season have been the ideal reaction to a poor run of defeats at the conclusion 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.”