In pictures: Arsenal v Sunderland
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Arsenal starlet Charlie Patino has been lauded as one of his former coaches made a glowing comparison between the 18-year-old and Liverpool midfielder Thiago. The Arsenal youngster has won many admirers after making a brilliant start to his senior career by marking his first-team debut with a goal midweek.
Patino scored the fifth and final goal in stoppage time on Tuesday night as Arsenal sailed past Sunderland to book their place in the EFL Cup semi-final.
The hotshot came off the bench in the second half and stole the headlines with a late goal to put the icing on a 5-1 victory, which also saw Eddie Nketiah grab a hat-trick and out-of-sorts winger Nicolas Pepe get in on the action.
The midfielder has long been tipped for a bright future and left Arsenal fans purring at the Emirates after his eye-catching performance.
Patino has won rave reviews from ex-Arsenal players and staff, including Jack Wilshere after rising up through the club’s youth ranks.
Mikel Arteta is conscious of the need to protect the youngster but admitted this week that Patino will get more game time amid increasing fanfare around the latest academy talent to graduate to the first-team.
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Patino’s senior debut was long anticipated by fans after some stellar performances this season for the club’s Under 23s side.
They wouldn’t have been left disappointed by what they saw – and the youngster’s former coach George Dukes was not surprised to see the teenage sensation make such an impressive introduction.
Dukes, who worked with Patino as a young kid, believes the Arsenal star’s best quality is his composure on the ball and even claimed that he bears a resemblance to Liverpool ace and former Barcelona playmaker Thiago.
Speaking to EPSN, he said: “The first time I saw Charlie and he came over I knew he was going to have some talent. But the thing that comes to mind with Charlie would be one word and that’s calm.
“He’s so relaxed on the ball. When he’s just doing kick-ups, touch work, everything is just so relaxed and calm.
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“That’s the word I’d use 100% for Charlie and people will see that the more he plays. You’ll see how relaxed he is on the ball, you won’t see him panicking or anything like that.
“One player I’d compare him to when I speak to people is Thiago at Liverpool. When he receives the ball it’s really unique and I think Charlie’s got some of that in his game in terms of his calmness and all-around game.”
Gunners boss Arteta is excited about the prospect but does not want to rush him into regular first-team action just yet.
He said: “Charlie is with us more and more in training sessions. Tuesday was his first competitive match, which was a beautiful day for him and everybody involved in the club.
“We’ll go slowly from there. If we need him, we will use him if the numbers are quiet but we have to throw him in there when we believe he’s ready. He’s making the right steps and we’re really happy with where we are.”
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