Danny Mills urges Arsenal not to put ‘too much, too soon’ on latest wonderkid Charlie Patino after midfielder, 18, netted against Sunderland on his first-team debut for Mikel Arteta’s Gunners
- Arsenal teenager Charlie Patino scored on his first-team debut on Tuesday night
- The midfielder scored the Gunners’ last goal in their 5-1 cup win over Sunderland
- Patino, 18, has been described as the best player to play in Arsenal’s academy
- Danny Mills has urged Arsenal not to put too much pressure on their young asset
Danny Mills has urged Arsenal to keep new wonderkid Charlie Patino grounded after the 18-year-old midfielder scored on his Gunners first-team debut in midweek.
Patino netted Arsenal’s last goal in their 5-1 thrashing of League One Sunderland in Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup quarter-final, in a momentous debut for the academy graduate.
The teenager has been described by some youth team circles at Arsenal as the best player to come through the Gunners’ academy set-up, but former England international Mills claims the north London club cannot afford to overwhelm him with pressure.
Danny Mills has urged Arsenal not to put too much pressure on new star Charlie Patino (above)
The 18-year-old (left) scored on his Arsenal debut in his side’s 5-1 win over Sunderland
‘Great night for the young man,’ Mills told talkSPORT after watching Patino score against Sunderland. ‘Something he will remember forever coming on here with a big crowd in.
‘It’s absolutely fantastic, but people are saying he’s the greatest player they’ve ever seen walk through the doors at Arsenal’s academy. That’s a lot of pressure. Just maybe manage it.
‘Everyone is on him immediately looking for that outstanding performance and it is going to take him time and he’s got to grow into that.
‘Sometimes we put all our hopes on players too young, too soon. That’s maybe unnecessary pressure he doesn’t need.’
Mills (above) has called on Arsenal to manage the workload placed on the teenage midfielder
Patino is the latest youngster that Arsenal have promoted from their youth team into their academy set-up in recent years, with the likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe now key players in the club’s starting eleven at senior level.
Eddie Nketiah, who scored a hat-trick against Sunderland on Tuesday, is another Gunners academy product, while Arsenal have also used young players such as Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli under the age of 23 in their team.
Former Gunners star Paul Merson believes Arsenal’s new set of academy products could be the new ‘Class of 92’ that saw Manchester United promote the likes of David Beckham, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs to first-team icons.
‘You imagine if Nketiah gets in the team and then all of a sudden you have got Smith Rowe on one side and [Bukayo] Saka on the other,’ Merson told Sky Sports. ‘Or they could have Martinelli on one side and Smith Rowe dropping back.
Patino (right) is part of a promising crop of young Arsenal stars include Emile Smith Rowe (left)
‘Those four players, and the young lad, Charlie, they could be for the next five, six or seven years at Arsenal. Who knows, it could be the next Man United.’
But Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta appears to have headed Mills’ advice by saying that the club will ‘cook Patino slowly’ as he continues his rise towards first-team stardom.
‘It was a dream. As a debut to come here, to score in front of our fans, a really special moment,’ Arteta said. ‘He is a kid that is coming through our system, a lovely kid.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta said Patino (above) made a good start but wants to ‘cook him slowly’
‘(The fans) know what he can become and now we have to cook him slowly. Today was a good start.
‘That (over expectation) is what we have to avoid. 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.’
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