Arsenal journalist Charles Watts has given his view on the future of Charlie Patino following his display for the U23 side.
The club recently posted footage on Twitter of the 17-year-old, who has been described as a ‘wonderkid’ by some outlets in the past, jinking his way through a Manchester United U23 defence that included experienced defender Phil Jones before finishing past England international Dean Henderson.
Patino has yet to make an appearance for the first team at the Emirates, but speaking on the latest edition of his show as part of a Q&A when asked when he would get his chance in the first team (2:44), Watts felt that his opportunity wouldn’t be too far away and could come as early as next week when the Gunners take on AFC Wimbledon in the 3rd round of the League Cup:
“There might be a chance in a couple of weeks’ time whenever the Wimbledon game is, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Patino on the bench for that one, given the way he’s started the season. I’m sure you’ve probably all seen the goal against United’s U23s on Saturday, lovely goal that sitting down Phil Jones and Dean Henderson on way to scoring that goal
“Look, Patino is very, very highly rated at Arsenal, Mikel Arteta really likes him. That’s why he’s been inviting him to train with the first team more and more. As far as I’m aware the plan for Patino at the moment it does not involve a loan, it is more of a straight into the first team. They think that by keeping him around, training around the first team he’ll learn more from that. The players really like him they’ve been impressed by him, the first-teamers, so you know it could be sooner rather than later.”
TIF Thoughts on Charles Watts’ comments about Charlie Patino at Arsenal
Will Patino make his Arsenal debut this season?
That game against AFC Wimbledon as Watts hints at will certainly be an indicator as to what the plans are for him moving forward. Because that might be one of the few chances that Gunners boss Arteta will have to really ‘experiment’ with team selection given how important the league campaign is for them as they look to show progress after a disappointing season last time out.
So if he doesn’t get any game time then, you do wonder when his first real opportunity is going to be, and that might not be until the F.A Cup 3rd Round rolls around in January. If Patino really is as talented and well respected within the Arsenal ranks as Watts seems to hint at, then you’d think they’d want to be showcasing him as soon as possible.
After all, they had some success last year when they played their academy products, so what is the harm in slowly integrating him into the first team at the earliest opportunity?