Arsenal scout: Patino the best player to ever come through our academy

New Arsenal wonderkid Charlie Patino, 17, is described as the best Gunners youngster to EVER come through the club’s academy by scout who spotted Jack Wilshere… as teenage midfielder continues rise towards first-team

  • Charlie Patino is on the verge of breaking into the Arsenal first-team this season
  • A video of the midfielder, 17, playing for the club’s Under-23s went viral this week
  • Brian Stapleton spotted Patino playing for Luton Town when he was just a child
  • The scout says his boss, who spotted Jack Wilshere, says Patino is the best ever 

The scout who discovered Jack Wilshere described new Arsenal midfield sensation Charlie Patino as the best player to ever come through the club’s academy, according to another Gunners talent-spotter.

Teenager Patino is on the verge of breaking into the Arsenal first-team after being used by Mikel Arteta in the club’s training sessions over the summer. A recent video of his performance for Arsenal’s Under-23s side at Swindon Town went viral among the club’s supporters this week.

And Arsenal scout Brian Stapleton, who spotted the player while he was playing for Luton Town – the same club Wilshere came from in 2001 – said his boss in the Arsenal scouting department believes no youngster has shown more promise than Patino. 

Charlie Patino is the best youngster to ever be at Arsenal, according to a leading club scout

A video of midfielder Patino, 17, (left) impressing for Arsenal’s Under-23s went viral this week

‘Of all the years I’ve been scouting, he’s the best kid I’ve ever seen,’ Stapleton told Goal last month. ‘I got a tip off about Charlie from a guy, so I went over there and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. He was 11 and I think he was playing in the Under-13s, and I was like “wow”.

‘His first touch was unbelievable, his vision, his awareness of space. He was way above his years, he was on another planet to anyone else on the pitch.

‘I made a phone call to my head of my department at Arsenal at the time, Shaun O’Connor. He asked what I thought and I said, ‘well, I’m not coming back again. I don’t need to see any more, you need to sign this kid straight away.’

Shaun O’Connor, who discovered Jack Wilshere (above), said Patino is the best he’s ever seen 

‘Shaun O’Connor discovered Jack Wilshere and he said to me that Charlie is the best player who has ever walked through the doors at Hale End. The kid has got so much potential, but he’s not there yet.’

Patino was also chased by the Gunners’ London rivals Chelsea and Tottenham before signing terms with Arsenal aged 11 back in 2015. The youngster was training six times a week before making the switch and spending more than 10 hours a week for several teams in Luton’s academy on a Sunday. 

When his parents Julio and Katy were interviewed by Sportsmail in 2015 , they mentioned the youngster had a special interest in Spanish football from a tactical perspective.  

Patino (right)  has been involved in some first-team training sessions held by Mikel Arteta (left)

‘Charlie doesn’t watch the Spanish football, he analyses it,’ Julio said. ‘His mind is ticking away, watching the player movements and asking why they made certain decisions. He is very intelligent. He would say his favourite team is Barcelona and he has definitely been influenced as a player by the Spanish style of football.’

Patino would be the latest in a long string of English talent to emerge from the Arsenal academy in recent years, the most recent being current Gunners stars Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka, who impressed for England at Euro 2020. 

The current Gunners duo themselves looked up to the likes of Wilshere, who broke in to the Arsenal first-team set-up in 2008 and spent a decade at the club, playing nearly 200 times. 

But Wilshere struggled with injuries at the Emirates Stadium, which halted his momentum and led to his departure when Arsene Wenger left the club, with the 29-year-old now without a club just a few weeks into the current season.

Patino could join the likes of Bukayo Saka (left) and Emile Smith Rowe (right) as academy stars

Wilshere (right) broke into the Arsenal team in 2008 but injuries scuppered his career

That setback has not affected the likes of Saka’s view on the former Arsenal midfielder, with the Arsenal No 7 showing support to Wilshere on social media after he told The Athletic about his struggles regarding getting back into the game.

‘You showed all of us at Hale End it was possible to make it at Arsenal,’ Saka wrote on Instagram in a public message to Wilshere last month. 

‘No matter what, remember how highly we all think of you! Forever an inspiration! You’ll be back!’

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