Nathan Patterson has tried to take his rapid rise to prominence in his stride.
With less than a full season of senior football under his belt, the excitement around Patterson’s potential saw him earn a place in Steve Clarke’s expanded 26-man Scotland squad for Euro 2020.
He spent much of the season at Rangers behind club captain James Tavernier but when he went down with injury, Patterson was able to step into the breach.
“There is a lot of excitement, challenge and a lot of pressure at a young age,” he said. “When you are young and you are exposed to that pressure at first-team level then it should help put you in good stead for the rest of your career.
“It has really helped me, being with Rangers and having a successful season and this has just topped it off.
“Not really. I was just concentrating on trying to break through and getting as many opportunities as possible. When I started playing well I knew I had to keep it going in the hope that I could get to the Euros. It has happened so I am buzzing.”
The talented young defender, however, insists he is not aware of clamour for him to start at right wing-back, with competition from Stephen O’Donnell and James Forrest.
“I am just concentrating on my football,” he added. “Everyday in training I work hard to try and catch the manager’s eye. I just train my hardest and wait for any opportunity that comes my way.”
“I am not really on social media or searching things up because sometimes social media can be bad. I just keep my head down, train hard and hope from that I get my opportunity on the pitch.”
Patterson feels he has benefitted from the support of Rangers manager Steven Gerrard, who guided the Ibrox club to their first title in 10 years this season.
The teenager only has 16 senior games to his name in the Gers’ first-team and made his Scotland debut in the win over Luxembourg last weekend.
“He’s a great manager and he came through the youth system at Liverpool and went on to win just about everything,” said Patterson. “He’s done it all and I just want to kind of emulate him.
“Because he came through the youth system he knows what it’s like to be a young player at a big club. That’s why it’s great to have him as my gaffer.
“After my debut he messaged me saying congratulations. Quite a lot of the staff did as well and it’s good to have that kind of support from your club and country.
“Yes, you can go in and speak to him no matter what time of day it is. His door is always open so you can go in to speak to him if you’re not feeling yourself or if you just want to have a chat with him. But, yes, he’s a great gaffer who always looks to do the best for his players.”
This wee guy is going to the Euros 🥳
— nathan patterson (@np4tterson) May 19, 2021
Big things are predicted – and expected – of the 19-year-old, whose career is still in its infancy.
While making his Scotland debut and going to a major tournament at a young age is a dream come true, he hopes it is just the beginning.
“Obviously in your career you always want to keep pushing and keep pushing – you never reach your peak,” added Patterson.
“Obviously I’m doing really well just now but I just want to keep driving on, keep pushing. Keep doing what I’m doing to get to the next level. Keep my standards high.
“If I can do all that then I can push further on and have a great career.”