Per Mertesacker opens up on Arsenal’s plan for youngster

Arsenal academy coach, Per Mertesacker has opened up on their plans for Charlie Patino.

The 17-year-old is highly rated at the club and is close to breaking into their first team, but Mertesacker says they don’t want to rush him.

Patino has shown dominant form in the Under-23s and he is constantly knocking on the first team door with his performance in youth team matches and training with the first team.

Mertesacker says they always knew Patino is a talented boy and have been confident about what he can deliver for them.

He then reveals that Arsenal also had plans for him to get some first-team involvement this season, so they never considered sending him out on loan.

At the moment, they don’t want to rush him into the first-team squad and want him to keep making gradual progress, even though he is destined for the senior team.

‘We always knew that Charlie is very talented with what he can produce for our youth teams,’ the former Arsenal captain told Football.London.

‘The link with the first team was always there and he got some exposure this summer. He had some injuries as well. Sometimes it’s not always that easy to track a player where everything works out for him nice.

‘Towards the end of the season he had an injury, so he came back into the system, we kind of exposed him, wanted to give him a proper pre-season. His plan was always to stay with the under-23s and then be exposed to the first team at some stages.

‘That was always the plan for this season for him so there was not a loan conversation to be made yet.

‘We want him – which he’s doing at the moment – to dominate 23s games and be exposed to first-team friendly games and hopefully to a couple of competitive games

‘But that’s always determined by what’s required on the first team side. But what helps are these games against Swindon and Newport.

‘He played against Swindon and was one of the best players. These are the games he needs to dominate and be exposed to, to make the next step.

‘We didn’t want to go a step ahead of where he was actually at with his progress.’

Patino could still get a chance to be involved in the FA Cup or Carabao Cup for Arsenal this season.

Tags Charlie Patino Per Mertesacker
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