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Who is Charlie Patino? Arsenal's new wonderkid who was signed for £10,000 at the age of 11

Arsenal secured a sensational 5-1 win over Sunderland to seal their berth in the Semi-Finals of the EFL Carabao Cup. Eddie Nketiah scored a hat-trick, with Nicolas Pepe getting two assists and a goal to his name. But the star of the night was 18-year-old Charlie Patino, who netted a goal on debut.

football efl carabao cup arsenal vs sunderland who is charlie patino new wonderkid signed for 10000 pounds at the age of 11
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London, First Published Dec 22, 2021, 10:03 AM IST
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Arsenal secured a sensational 5-1 win over Sunderland to seal their berth in the Semi-Finals of the EFL Carabao Cup. Eddie Nketiah scored a hat-trick, with Nicolas Pepe getting two assists and a goal to his name. But the star of the night was 18-year-old Charlie Patino, who netted a goal on debut.

Emirates Stadium came alive when Charlie Patino's name was announced as a substitute for his first-team debut. Born just two months into Arsenal's most-celebrated Invincibles season of 2003-2004, Patino took to the field in the 80th minute to replace fellow-academy graduate Emile Smith Rowe. In the 91st minute of the game, the England Under-19 international slid in to convert Nicolas Pepe's sensational cross into the corner to cap a good night for manager Mikel Arteta.

Following the impressive win, Arteta lauded Charlie Patino's dream debut calling it a beautiful moment. "Charlie 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," the Arsenal boss added.

For some time now, the Hale End graduate has been pegged as a wonderkid and has even drawn parallels with Manchester City's Phil Foden. Labelled as 'better than Jack Wilshere', Patino's potential caught the legendary Arsene Wenger's eyes in 2015. Arsenal paid Luton Town £10,000 to sign Patino, who was 11 years old then. Not just Arsenal, but Patino had caught the attention of Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspurs and Manchester City. According to reports, City made a last attempt to lure the youngster to join the club, but Patino opted to be part of the Gunners because of their proximity to his home in St Albans.

Since arriving at the Emirates Stadium, Charlie Patino, who has drawn inspiration from Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta, has generated hype. Pegged as the next big thing at Arsenal by Football.London's Chris Wheatley, Patino, played at a higher age group for both club and country. The midfielder also captained England in an Under-16 match against Spain when he was 14. Patino also featured in Arsenal's Under-18 squad against Chelsea at the same age before becoming a permanent name in the side.

Last season, Charlie Patino started in four Under-23 games of the Premier League 2 since the turn of the New Year, scoring against Chelsea in February. However, he sustained an injury against Manchester City that ruled him out of action for a couple of months before marking his return to this season. The talented midfielder also scored a sensational solo goal for Arsenal's Under-23 side against arch-rivals Manchester United.

Charlie Patino's talent and skill caught Mikel Arteta's eye, and since last season, the youngster has been involved in the first-team training. Patino was handed over his first professional contract last October, a deal that Gunners would thank Arteta for. Upon signing his new deal, Patino had said, "Amazing to sign my first professional contract with Arsenal. Thanks to everyone who has helped and believed in me. The hard work continues and my dream of one day making my full debut for Arsenal pushes me on."

Charlie Patino's first senior goal came with his first shot in professional football (vs Sunderland in the Carabao Cup quarterfinals). The reaction from fans at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday (December 21) night indicates the admiration he holds among Gunners.

"The fans heard about him and knew what he could become. Now we have to cook him slowly. Today was a good start. He still has a lot of competition in front of him. He is young, and he needs to go step by step. Today he was lucky; he got the opportunity and took it really well," Arteta concluded.

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