Arsenal fans were desperate to see Charlie Patino make his first-team debut against Wimbledon last night, but Mikel Arteta decided against including him in his 18-man matchday squad.
Patino, still only 17, is one of Hale End’s brightest talents. He is destined for a massive future at the top level, and many supporters felt last night was the perfect opportunity for Arteta to give him a chance.
However, to many fans’ surprise, Patino didn’t even make the squad. Arteta, predictably, was quizzed about his decision to exclude the teenager. Here’s what the Arsenal boss had to say.
Arteta: Charlie Patino was very close to playing yesterday
The Spaniard said, as per Arsenal.com: “He was very close (to being in the squad against Wimbledon last night), but we decided as well that some players needed minutes and it will happen naturally in time.
“Charlie has been good. He’s trained more and more with us and played a practice game at Colney and he was really good.
“Again, give him time and we will prepare him.”
The Insider’s View:
Some Arsenal fans have a lot of doubts about Arteta, but the one area where we cannot question him is his willingness to give young players an opportunity in the first team when they deserve it.
We all knew Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe were destined to play for the first team and the former had even impressed under Unai Emery. However, it was Arteta who played a big part in helping both of them become the players they are today.
Patino, as Arteta said, will definitely get his chance. There’s no doubt he will be a top player for us in the coming years, but it’s still frustrating for fans that we didn’t get to see him against Wimbledon last night.