A great strength of Arsenal Football Club over many years has been their ability to mould top-class players in their academy who can go on to achieve success, and Charlie Patino is looking like another.
This season, the 18-year-old has burst onto the scene, impressing onlookers whilst featuring for the club’s reserve side. The central midfielder is superb on the ball, both when it comes to passing and swiftly dribbling between opponents.
An ability to carry the ball out from deep areas has already created talk about Patino potentially turning into one of the world’s best midfielders in the future.
Arsenal midfielder Martin Odegaard is another that has praised Patino’s qualities and potential. What did Odegaard have to say, and who exactly is Charlie Patino?
Odegaard’s comments on Charlie Patino
During a Twitter Q&A, Odegaard was asked to name the brightest academy prospect currently at Arsenal.
He replied: “We have a lot of players. I would maybe say Charlie Patino as one of the biggest talents there.”
“I really like the way he plays and the way he uses the ball. He’s confident on the ball and asking for the ball all the time, so he’s definitely one to watch in the future.”
Who is Charlie Patino?
Charlie Patino signed for Arsenal’s academy from Luton Town back in 2015 – the same path that Jack Wilshere took during his youth career. He signed his first professional contract with the club last year.
The 18-year-old has already featured at four England international age groups, from under-15s through to under-19s. He is also eligible to play for Spain through his father, Jules, so we could see a battle between both nations for Patino soon.
So far this season, Patino has made nine appearances for Arsenal’s reserve side, scoring one goal and providing an assist. His goal came against Manchester United. Patino slalomed his way through the United defence before coolly dinking the ball over senior goalkeeper Dean Henderson.
Has Patino been involved in the Arsenal first team?
No, Charlie Patino has not yet made an official appearance for Arsenal’s first team in any competition.
He has, however, trained with Arsenal’s first-team squad. Mikel Arteta said Patino was “close” to being named in the squad for the side’s Carabao Cup match against AFC Wimbledon, but it was decided that other players needed game time.
Arsenal won the match 3-0, with Thomas Partey, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Albert Sambi Lokonga starting in midfield. Emile Smith Rowe came off the bench.
Who else is excited about the future of Charlie Patino?
Patino has already been the subject of comparisons to former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, who also came through the Gunners academy.
Wilshere told PA Media (via Daily Mirror): “I know him. I’ve seen him and he’s a good player.”
“He’s obviously really young still and got a lot of developing to do, but he’s definitely one who everyone at the training ground is talking about. The first team players know who he is and he is a good player and one for the future for sure.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s senior academy scout, Shaun O’Connor, has said that Patino is “the best player who has ever worked through the doors” at the club’s academy. O’Connor has worked for the Gunners over two separate spells and discovered Wilshere.
Fellow scout Brian Stapleton told Goal: “Shaun O’Connor discovered Jack Wilshere and he said to me that Charlie is the best player who has ever walked through the doors at Hale End. The kid has got so much potential, but he’s not there yet.”
“There is a pathway that Arsenal have got for him and he’s probably going down the same pathway as Phil Foden at Manchester City.”
There’s plenty to get excited about when it comes to Charlie Patino’s future at Arsenal, it seems – if they can keep hold of him.
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