It seemed inevitable that Charlie Patino would make his first-team debut at some point this season, and the occasion was made even better for the midfielder as he scored his first senior goal against Sunderland.
Whatever Patino goes on to achieve in his career, he has already got further than many academy players manage and he will now hope to receive further opportunities in due course, with the FA Cup tie away to Nottingham Forest another occasion when he could possibly be named amongst the substitutes.
From a wider perspective, Patino’s involvement with the first-team is another major boost for the academy as a whole. With Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe starring on a regular basis, the prospects who are currently progressing through the system will have plenty of players to be inspired by.
Throughout Arsenal’s history there has been a strong focus on the academy and now, after several years in which maybe not as many youngsters were produced as had been hoped, there have been more players coming through in recent seasons.
For a considerable period of time Patino has been viewed as a player with a good chance of breaking into the squad. He has frequently played above his age group and has already gained plenty of experience playing for the U23s at the age of 18.
If Patino can develop defensively to add to his excellent passing and superb technique then he could well prove to be a useful player in the near future, although it is important not to rush him.
In addition to his own progress he will also be seen as a player who other youngsters, many of whom have played alongside him at academy level, will be looking to emulate.