As 2022 approaches, the previous year has been filled with numerous highs and a few lows, however, the question is, who was Rangers’ breakthrough player in 2021? The obvious choice is Nathan Patterson.
The young Scot has had a fantastic year and his development has been clear for everyone to see.
He made his debut under Steven Gerrard against Stranraer in a Scottish cup tie in January 2020 as his growing potential merited an outing.
Patterson would have to wait until August of that year to make his league debut, as the club began their assault on the league title which would be won after a wonderful unbeaten season
Patterson is maturing
The youngster began really making a name for himself during the later stages of the 2020/21 campaign as he stood in for James Tavernier as the captain was injured.
Gerrard and his backroom staff needn’t have worried about the Scot coming into the side as he showed a maturity and calmness that many professionals would hope to possess.
The side has a fantastic talent in their midst and the key thing now is for Giovanni van Bronckhorst to nurture him and give him as many opportunities to play as possible.
The 20-year-old certainly didn’t go unnoticed on an international level either as Steve Clarke gave him his debut in a friendly against Luxemburg in June prior to the delayed Euro 2020 tournament.
Even better was to come, as the manager included Patterson in the final Scotland squad for the tournament, alongside fellow talents such as Billy Gilmour and David Turnbull.
After a loss and a draw in their opening two matches which gave Scotland a slim chance of progression, the Rangers defender came off the bench against Croatia at Hampden to make his competitive debut and give the fans a look into the future.
Clarke gave him his first start against Moldova in a crucial World Cup qualifier in November and he scored his first-ever Scotland goal.
It has been a fantastic year for the Scot and Rangers have a real talent who will surely go on to be a Rangers and Scotland regular for the foreseeable future and play in the English Premier League.
Let’s hope 2022 is even better.
Admirable mention for Calvin Bassey
Although Patterson is arguably the club’s breakthrough player for 2021, there should be a shout-out for fellow defender Calvin Bassey.
Although playing second fiddle to Borna Barišić last season, whenever he was required to step into the first team, he performed well and is certainly one for the future.
Usually deployed at left-back, due to a shortage of options at centre back the previous few weeks, he has filled the void alongside Connor Goldson and performed extremely well.
Could there be a future for the 21-year-old at the heart of the defence? Initial signs are certainly promising.