How Northern League stint has prepared Anthony Patterson for Sunderland debut
Sunderland goalkeeper Anthony Patterson has been given a ringing endorsement by the coach that oversaw his development during a loan spell in the Northern League.
Sunderland RCA goalkeeper coach Lenny French worked alongside the 19-year-old stopper in the last six weeks of last season as the Tyneside-born youngster impressed during his work experience loan spell with the Division One club.
Patterson kept three clean sheets in just seven games and conceded just four goals in that time as he helped Martin Swales’ side to a top five finish in the Northern League’s top tier.
He returned to the Academy of Light during the summer and has since become a regular feature in Elliott Dickman’s Under-23’s side this season.
An international call-up for Jon McLaughlin and an injury concern over Lee Burge had led to speculation that Patterson could make his debut in Tuesday night’s EFL Trophy game at Scunthorpe United.
And RCA coach French insisted that Patterson won’t let anyone down if he is called upon over the coming weeks and months.
He said: “I think he would step up well and the biggest thing for any goalkeeper at any level is their confidence.
“I could tell from one or two training sessions that he had that in abundance.
“Anthony is a confident young lad and his technical ability is all there.
“His distribution is spot on and you could see that he had everything you need as a goalkeeper during his time with us.
“Nothing fazes him, he will deal with the crowd and everything that comes with that.
“The Northern League didn’t faze him and when you spoke to him before and after games, the physical side of the league didn’t even get discussed because he just wasn’t bothered.
“He made a big difference to the defensive side of our game and everything changed at the back because of him.
“There was no hesitation from the defence, there was confidence in him and there was no concern when they played the ball back to him.
“He just needs a break and it’s down to him to take that if or when it comes.”