There’s no question Steven Gerrard has a major dilemma on his hands.
In the way Billy Gilmour probably won’t be at Chelsea next season through needing minutes, be it a loan or a transfer, there’s a real risk Rangers will lose Nathan Patterson for the same reason.
Patterson, clearly, is too good for the bench. He cannot stay on the bench any more than Gilmour can down south.
But James Tavernier is unshakable in selection – if fit he starts, and that’s absolute.
With Patterson now excelling for his country as well as for his club at all levels, he’s proven himself capable, more than, which means Steven Gerrard has to make a decision:
1: Play Nathan Patterson at RB over James Tavernier.
2: Play Nathan Patterson at RB and push Tavernier elsewhere.
3: Play Nathan Patterson in a different position.
4: Leave Nathan Patterson on the bench and hope he’s happy with that.
5: Let Patterson go out on loan.
6: Sell either Tavernier or Patterson.
The fact is, re: number 1, Tavernier isn’t losing his place, so there’s no point even discussing that one. The only reason Tavernier wouldn’t be in Rangers’ XI is injury or sale.
But the other five are all valid.
So which one is most likely.
We cannot see 4 being good enough. Fans won’t be happy with that, and it wastes a talented young player who is destined for great things. Gerrard himself wouldn’t be happy with that, and we know he rates the kid very highly.
The most likely outcome is a mishmash of 2 & 3. He probably won’t leave – he’s far too good for any SPL team and Rangers don’t want to loan better Championship teams our players because that usually means said player is more than good enough for Rangers. Sure, the lower ones maybe, but that’s the league we often sign players from, not give players to.
Could Rangers go for the sale? Probably not – fans wouldn’t be happy with that either.
So it really is trying to suss a way to accommodate he and Tavernier together.
We discussed in a previous entry how Rangers had to evolve and adapt to cope with CL and 56.
The evolution could very much begin with the use of Patterson, who is almost like a new signing.
We’ll be fascinated to see what the management team conjures.