Soccer

Mikel Arteta "loves" Arsenal wonderkid who has been compared to Phil Foden

Mikel Arteta is said to be highly excited about the potential of 17-year-old midfielder Charlie Patino – and could hand the player his senior debut at Arsenal before the end of the season.

Patino started his career at Luton before being signed by Arsenal in 2015 for a fee of around £10,000.

Since then has been a regular part of the Gunners' U18 team, while he has also captained England U16s in the past.

He signed his first professional contract with Arsenal last month, and it is believed Arteta and his backroom staff are keeping a close eye on the player.

In an interview with Spanish based outlet La Opinión a Coruña, Patino's father Julio lifted the lid on how his son is developing.

"We are happy to sign that first contract, Charlie has worked hard," he said.

"Arteta and all the technicians love him, but not only for what he does on the pitch.

"He doesn’t give problems, he listens, he asks them, he is interested in what they tell him."

The likes of Bukayo Saka, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Eddie Nketiah have all come through the Arsenal academy to become regular first-team players in recent years, and there are hopes Patino could be next in line.

His box-to-box style has seen him compared to the likes of former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere and Manchester City's Phil Foden, and Gunners fans will no doubt be desperately hoping he lives up to his undoubted potential.

Upon putting pen to paper on his new deal, Patino 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."

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