Journalist Charles Watts has hit out at Arsenal for failing to include youngster Charlie Patino in the club’s squad for their pre-season tour of the United States.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, the Gunners correspondent was left bemused by manager Mikel Arteta deciding to place five goalkeepers among the travelling contingent.
The 33-man squad have headed to Baltimore for the first leg of their pre-season tour, where they will compete in three warm-up games ahead of the Premier League’s kick-off on Friday, 5th August when the Gunners face Crystal Palace on the opening night.
Patino made his senior debut for the north Londoners last season in the Carabao Cup and scored in their quarter-final win over Sunderland, while he also appeared in the FA Cup a few weeks later.
Watts has claimed that the midfielder will be in and around the senior setup once again this term, having featured in the 5-3 pre-season friendly win over Nurnberg last Friday, and has even suggested that the 18-year-old may see more action, leaving the reporter unable to comprehend why he would be left out of the squad.
He said: “I can’t believe Patino isn’t going.
“If he’s injured, then fine, and I will apologise after this little bit of a rant that I’m going on.
“I’ve tried to find out, but at the time of recording this video, I haven’t found out yet exactly if there is any issue with Patino.
“But if he is fit, and obviously he went to Germany, did very well – I just don’t get it.
“Why are you taking five goalkeepers and not giving Patino a chance, because as it stands, my latest information is that Patino’s not going on loan this season; he’s going to be in and around the first team and you’d expect he is going to get opportunities in the Europa League group stages and potentially the Carabao Cup, so why wouldn’t you take him here and give him some really valuable experience?
“The more I think about it, the more I think it’s really bizarre.”
TIF Thoughts on Patino and Arsenal…
Will Charlie Patino be Arsenal's next academy star?
With the trail blazed by Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka in recent seasons and many others before them, one would think Patino has a clear pathway to the Gunners’ first team.
Early last season, he grabbed the headlines with a spectacular solo goal against Manchester United’s U23s in the Premier League 2 and was thought to have put on a ‘sparkling display’ against Swindon Town despite a 2-1 EFL Trophy defeat.
Brian Stapleton, the man credited with first unearthing Patino, told Goal last summer “of all the years I’ve been scouting, he’s the best kid I’ve ever seen,” which is a glowing tribute to his talents, and although given the cold shoulder, perhaps this could still be the year when Patino breaks through.