Charlie Patino didn’t get into Arsenal’s League Cup squad on Wednesday, but Mikel Arteta admits he’s impressed with the youngster.
In the week leading up to the League Cup clash with AFC Wimbledon, reports suggested Charlie Patino would be involved in the squad after impressing Arsenal staff behind the scenes.
This speculation was added to when Patino joined first-team training in the build-up to the game, but he wasn’t in the final squad selected on Wednesday.
Mikel Arteta explained that in the end, they decided they needed to give minutes to certain other players.
“He (Patino) was very close, but we decided as well that some players needed minutes and it will happen naturally in time,” Arteta said in his post-match press conference.
This could well be a reference to Thomas Partey, who reportedly asked to play in the Wimbledon match to help build his fitness. If so, it’s hard to complain about Arsenal prioritising the needs of one of their starters on this occasion.
All the same, Arteta is clearly happy with how Patino is progressing away from the competitive senior action.
“Charlie has been good,” Arteta went on. “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.”
Though he couldn’t play in the match, Patino turned up to the Emirates Stadium anyway, to support his club from the stands. He posted a picture on Instagram before the game.
— Dan Critchlow (@afcDW) September 22, 2021
Given his talent, Patino’s time will come eventually. He’s still only just settling into the u23s, making his 10th appearance for the side last weekend, so there’s no real rush.