Scotland boss Steve Clarke has opened up on his conversation with Everton boss Frank Lampard about former Rangers defender Nathan Patterson – and confessed the full-back’s lack of game time at Goodison Park is “all part of growing up.”
Patterson has barely featured for the Toffees after leaving Rangers in the January transfer window but is likely to get some action for the national team when they face Poland at Hampden tonight.
Clarke knows it has been tough for Patterson in Liverpool but is also appreciative of the position that Lampard finds himself in.
“I had a little text conversation with Frank about Nathan when he took over at Everton, and obviously, I spoke very well about him,” admitted Clarke. “But Frank is in a situation where he has to get points on the board very quickly as they’re under a lot of pressure at Everton. So I understand the situation.
“It was difficult for Nathan as soon as Rafa Benitez lost his job because it was Rafa and the Sporting Director at that time who signed Nathan. It’s obviously been a little bit difficult for him.
“It’s all part of growing up, eh? It’s all part of the experience. He’s down there with a good move at a good club. He should, between now and the end of the season, hopefully get some minutes on the pitch and that would be good.”
The Scotland boss also explained how he’d had some “unusual” discussions with Patterson about how to handle his time out of the side at Everton.
While there have been a handful of under-23 appearances for Everton, Clarke encouraged Patterson to keep his high standards in training and be ready for when his chance does come.
“I spoke to him over the telephone a couple of times, which is a little bit unusual for me between camps because I tend to leave players on their own,” he added.
“I did have a little chat with Nathan about making sure that, even if he wasn’t in the first-team, he got some minutes on the pitch with his under-23 team which he did do.
“It’s about making sure he’s working hard, even though he’s not getting a chance to start.
“You can’t let your training standards drop because when the chance does come, he has to be ready to take that chance.”
Meanwhile, Rangers have gone top of SWPL1 after beating Aberdeen at Pittodrie last night