Arsenal’s ‘best player in academy’ could make debut against AFC Wimbledon

Charlie Patino has long been tipped for big things at Hale End and now young Gunner could make his League Cup debut against AFC Wimbledon on Wednesday

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Mikel Arteta Burnley post-match press conference

The next prodigious talent to come out of Arsenal’s Hale End could make his professional debut against AFC Wimbledon this week.

Charlie Patino has been touted to be “better than Jack Wilshire” and has won comparisons with Phil Foden.

Now the 17-year-old could make his League Cup debut this week as the Gunners face AFC Wimbledon.

The Premier League sides kick off their League Cup campaign this week, with Arsenal hoping for no upheaval as they host Wimbledon in the Emirates.

Patino’s inclusion is expected amid a series of changes in the starting XI.

Charlie Patino was Arsenal’s Under-21 captain for their EFL Cup clash against Swindon Town


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The youngster has impressed the U23 Gunners side recently, including scoring a brilliant solo goal against Manchester United U23 and has trained regularly with the first team.

He even took part in a closed-door friendly against Brentford.

Arsenal scout Brian Stapleton said: “Sean O’Connor discovered Jack Wilshere and he told me Charlie was the best player to ever walk through the gates of Hale End.

“The kid has so much potential, but he’s not here yet.”

Instead of sending the youngster on loan, it is believed that Arsenal preferred to keep him at the club to become a first-team player like Manchester City did with Phil Foden.

Patino did not travel with the first team to Scotland on their preseason trip, but should find his way into Arteta’s mind as soon as possible.

Stapleton added, “Charlie has an incredible awareness of where he is on the field and where the other players are on the field. His vision is so good that he can split a defense with a pass.

“And he has this desire to do well. When he’s on that ground he can be an animal, he’s a winner. “

Arsenal discovered the youngster playing for the 11-year-old Luton Town, playing with boys two years his senior.

Patino had received offers from a number of big clubs but chose to join Arsenal ahead of Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City.

Arsenal have reportedly paid Luton £ 10,000 in compensation for the youngster who has since risen through the ranks.

His father Julio explained to the Luton Herald & Post at the time: “Opportunities like this don’t come up too often, so you have to take them and we are absolutely thrilled for him.

“When clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City, Tottenham come knocking on your door, there’s a reason behind it and you can’t just say ‘no thanks, I’m pretty happy where I am. “

“Luton Town didn’t want to lose Charlie, they absolutely love him there, but they realized that in order for him to develop further he needed to move on.”

The sun reported that some Arsenal insiders said he was better than Jack Wilshire at 16 and on a Questions and Answers on Reddit , Chris Wheatley of Football.London said: “Charlie Patino is the next big thing at Arsenal and I am sure he will become a regular at the club in a few years.”

Patino is said to be looking to follow in the footsteps of Hale End graduates Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka.

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