Arsenal’s newest teenage sensation Charlie Patino enjoyed a debut to remember against Sunderland, capping his brief substitute appearance with a goal in stoppage time that sealed his side’s place in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup.
The hype surrounding the 18-year-old has been steadily intensifying this season following a series of impressive displays for the reserves, while he has featured regularly in first team training sessions.
Arsenal’s lack of involvement in the Europe has meant the gifted midfielder has been made to wait patiently for his senior debut, but the moment duly arrived last night with the Gunners cruising to victory over League One Sunderland.
What a night for 18-year old Charlie Patino scoring on his debut ð pic.twitter.com/lph4cpgpCX— Football Daily (@footballdaily) December 21, 2021
Patino was given something of a rude awakening when he was sent tumbling to the floor almost immediately by a reckless Callum Doyle challenge, but he had the last laugh when he ghosted in unmarked to slide home Nicolas Pepe’s pass with virtually the last act of the game.
The goal was the culmination of seven years’ worth of graft having signed terms with Arsenal as an 11-year-old, with the north London club forced to pay Luton £10,000 in compensation.
According to the Guardian at the time, Patino had caught the attention of Spurs and Chelsea, as well as Manchester City, but the proximity of his St Albans home to Arsenal’s training ground proved to be the decisive factor in his decision to further his development at the Hale End academy.
Speaking after last night’s 5-1 thrashing, meanwhile, Arteta urged caution and insisted it was his job to protect the youngster in a bid to help him fill his abundant potential.
‘It was a beautiful moment,’ he said. ‘He is a kid that is coming through our system, a lovely kid. He is training with us almost every week.
‘It was a dream. As a debut to come here, to score in front of our fans, a really special moment.
‘We have to avoid (the hype). He still has a lot of competition in front of him. He is really young. And he needs to go step by step. Today he was lucky, he got the opportunity and he took it really well.’