There is not a lot to be excited about if you are an Arsenal supporter right now. The North London club have had their worst ever start to a season in the Premier League era, and currently sits rock bottom of the league table after losing all three games and not scoring a single goal so far.
Only the most optimistic of the Gunners’ supporters can find something positive around the club at the moment, and they seem to have managed to do that – courtesy of a certain highly-rated teenager’s highlights package in an academy fixture that has excited plenty of Arsenal fans.
Charlie Patino is a talented 17-year-old midfielder from Arsenal’s Hale End Academy, and his performance for the Gunners U21s away at Swindon Town in their first match of the EFL Trophy.
Although the match ended in a 2-1 win for the hosts, it was Patino who stole the show despite ending up on the losing side. The young Englishman was Arsenal’s most notable force to be reckoned with, and it was his highlights package from the evening that caught the attention of Arsenal fans on social media platforms – convincing them that they have a gem on their hands.
Patino delivered the most complete midfield performance that one can expect from a 17-year-old, as he was influential in both attacking and defending in the middle third of the pitch.
Patino was essential for helping the Gunners play out from the back, and also showed that he is a technically adept midfielder who can pass short as well as long with both feet and body feint like a veteran.
Charlie Patino vs Swindon Town: pic.twitter.com/QKWAWTCAAT— William 🦋 (@AFCWilliam__) September 7, 2021
Not only did Patino display some of his Spanish roots with his incredible technical ability for his age, but he also showed his love for a crunching tackle or two – astonishing Arsenal fans with his performance in midfield, while playing against older footballers.
Brian Stapleton, the Arsenal scout who first spotted Patino playing for Luton Town has reserved very high words of praise for the teenager. Stapleton called Patino “the best kid he has ever seen” in all of his years working at Hale End, a statement which is quite the compliment when you consider the names in competition, like Jack Wilshere and Cesc Fàbregas.
But despite Patino’s heroics against Swindon Town, there are fans who are not sold on him yet. While he has earned himself a large section of Arsenal fans in his corner already, the lesser optimistic ones raised an argument that has questioned the lack of more evidence to back up the 17-year-old’s ability.
Patino might still have a few years until he gets close to the Arsenal first-team set-up, but there is no doubt that he is one for the future and a beacon of hope for the Gunners’ supporters.