Speaking on the Blues Brothers podcast, former Rangers midfielder Derek Ferguson has expressed concerns about Nathan Patterson occupying the backup right-back role at Ibrox.
Gers skipper James Tavernier is the undisputed first choice in the position, but following the departures of Matt Polster, Jon Flanagan and Ross McCrorie in the summer, Patterson became his understudy.
The 19-year-old is highly rated at Ibrox and impressed fans with his attacking play during his four outings at senior level.
However, Ferguson thinks he might not yet be ready to play week in week out should Tavernier face a spell on the sidelines.
Speaking on the Blues Brothers podcast, he said: “For me, and this is no slight on the boy, Tav has been excellent, but this young boy Patterson…If Tav was to pick up an injury, I mean obviously the boy’s a good player, I’ve seen enough of him, but I sometimes think that is somewhere we could look at.”
“I don’t know if we’ll get someone with the same quality, because he’s on a mission at the minute. I’m just wondering in that right-back area, whether it is too much of an ask for Patterson.”
Ferguson expresses concerns about Nathan Patterson as Rangers’ only backup right-back – Verdict
The Scotland U19 international has shown real promise in his first-team outings so far, but there would definitely be an element of concern should Tavernier pick up a problem.
Patterson is good going forward and would offer an attacking outlet on the right side, but the level of his defensive ability is as yet largely unknown.
Gerrard recently raved about the teenager’s application in training [Scottish Sun], but he struggled against the impressive Rodrigo Riquelme in a UEFA Youth League defeat to Atletico Madrid at the beginning of the year and he hasn’t had the benefit of any loan moves to test himself in pressure situations against senior opposition.
Yet, at the same time, supporters have been urging this management team to give young players opportunities and that isn’t possible if backup players are recruited from elsewhere to fill every position.
It’s a difficult balancing act but it seems that for now, Gerrard is content with having with the master and apprentice dynamic.