Seamus Coleman is convinced Everton full-back Nathan Patterson has the potential to shine in the Premier League for the next decade – and believes the growing number of leaders in the Blues squad will help the Scot continue on his upward trajectory.
Coleman made his first Everton appearance of the 2022/23 campaign in Tuesday’s 1-0 Carabao Cup win at Fleetwood Town.
The Everton captain played the full 90 minutes as he made a key step in his journey back to optimal fitness, having missed the Blues’ pre-season programme due a groin injury.
He lined up alongside Patterson at Fleetwood – with Coleman one of three central defenders and the 20-year-old at right wing-back – and the Irishman explained how he has been impressed with the former Glasgow Rangers player’s temperament and commitment since he joined Everton in January.
Coleman told evertontv: “First and foremost, I look at the character of the person Nathan is. He’s a great lad. He’s really humble and very hard-working.
“On top of that, you can see the quality he has.
“He is still young, but he shows great attributes, bursting forward and playing one-twos. He looks as fit as a fiddle.
“With the likes of myself, Tarky [James Tarkowski], Conor [Coady], Jordan [Pickford] – and there’s lots of other experienced lads the squad, too – it’s our job to help him along the way and make sure he becomes a Premier League player for the next 10 or 12 years, because he’s got that ability.”
Summer signings Tarkowski and Coady joined Everton having racked up a combined total of more than 800 senior appearances.
Coleman explained how the England international pair have made already made significant impact on and off the pitch.
“They’ve brought a lot,” he said. “They are leaders. I know Tarky captained Burnley quite a lot and Conor has been captain of Wolves.
“They are good voices in the dressing room and really good guys, too.
“They’ve been a breath of fresh air and as the season goes on, I think we’ll see their importance more and more.”
On a personal level, Coleman is intent on building the valuable game time he got against a combative Fleetwood outfit on Tuesday night.
“It was very disappointing to miss pre-season, but I kept myself fit and worked hard in training,” he added.
“The Fleetwood game came at a great time to get some minutes and, most importantly, we’re into the next round, so it was a positive night all round.
“I really enjoyed the game. I’d been looking forward it for few days, when I thought I could be playing.
“We knew it would be a difficult match. We see upsets all the time in games like this, so we had to be mentally prepared. It was tough at times, but it was really good to progress.”