Anthony Patterson's strong message to Phil Parkinson over his Sunderland first-team chances
Sunderland youngster Anthony Patterson insists he is ready to make a first-team impact - having already caught the eye of Phil Parkinson.
The Black Cats’ new manager has handed Patterson the chance to train with the senior squad during his early weeks on Wearside, and for the stopper himself, that experience is an invaluable one as he looks to forge a career in the game.
“Training with Jon McLaughlin and Lee Burge day in day out has been a very good experience for me,” said Patterson.
“They’re two very experienced goalkeepers and it’s been brilliant for me to learn from them. I try to take the best things from their game and use them in mine.
“They try to help me at any opportunity and they’re constantly giving me little tips on how I can improve.
“The first-team train with very high intensity so I know I have to be at my best every training session.”
Patterson’s rise in stock at the Academy of Light came after a productive loan spell with Northern League side Sunderland RCA last season; a move which the stopper insists means he is ‘ready’ for a first-team bow.
“The loan move really helped me,” he admitted.
“The chance to play men’s football and get used to the physicality of it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
“Game time is very important for goalkeepers especially, so I felt the loan move would give me an opportunity to play week in week out, and it did that.
“My confidence grew with each match and it’s continued into the beginning of this season.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to improve even more in the upcoming games.
“I just need to get my head down now and keep working hard in training, and if an opportunity comes my way in the first-team, I’ll be ready.”
The decision of when to throw Patterson into the fold, though, is one which only Parkinson can make.
“Patterson is over there all the time training with the first team staff, they get to see him,” explained under-23 boss Elliott Dickman.
“At the end of the day, the senior staff will decide whether they feel he’s ready or not.”