Charlie Patino has long been regarded as one of the most promising players in the Arsenal academy, and there was a significant occasion for the 17-year-old yesterday as he made his debut for the U23s.
Patino was thrown into action away to Tottenham Hotspur and the midfielder acquitted himself well before being substituted in the second half.
The absence of Miguel Azeez, who was missing due to injury, enabled Patino to get his chance, but it seems likely that he will get plenty of further opportunities to impress before the conclusion of the campaign.
Within seconds of watching Patino play his qualities are immediately obvious. The youngster has an excellent range of short and long passes, while his technical ability is of a very high standard. In recent months he has also shown some significant signs of improvement with regards to the defensive side of his game.
One slight element of concern with Patino is his lack of strength, but that should improve as he tests himself against older opponents and continues to work hard in the gym.
At present it appears that Patino’s progression is mirroring the path that Azeez followed a year ago, by breaking into the U23 squad in the second half of the season before having some first-team involvement in the following campaign.
It is clear that Patino is progressing at a rapid pace and it probably won’t be too long until he is involved with the senior squad in some capacity.