YOUTH SERIES: Charlie Patino—the Next Frenkie De Jong?

(Retweet for others to see and read).
17-year-old academy star, Charlie Patino, has begun to stir waves of excitement among Arsenal fans. Regarded as the 'best player to have ever walked through Hale End' by Arsenal's academy chief, Patino is already a regular in first team training.

We speak to one of Twitter's
informal soccer experts and ask him to help contextualize the hype. Who is Charlie Patino? Is the hype justified? Should Arsenal fans remain excited?

AI (@nonewthing) will take us through Patino's background, position, talent and future.

RT for other fans to discover and read.
AI: 'Charlie Patino is an incredibly talented boy. His first-touch, awareness, vision and passing are all what jumps out at first sight. It is easy to understand the comparisons to another academy star in Jack Wilshere, but a closer look actually reveals something more exciting.'
'First of all, Patino is not an attacking midfielder, even though he can play as one.

He is actually a deep midfielder who is being groomed to orchestrate play like Granit Xhaka or Thomas Partey. This is the first step towards understanding why Patino is so highly rated.
Knowing where he plays, we can now ask the question: what makes Charlie Patino so good that he is seen by academy coaches as perhaps the most important young player to have ever come through the Arsenal system?

We cannot answer this question without knowing the details of
the role he is expected to play in the future.

It is the Frenkie De Jong role.

Frenkie De Jong is one of the most exceptional young midfield talent to have ever graced the Champions League. Allegri famously called him the heartbeat of that memorable 2018 Ajax UCL team. Why?'
'It's simple: Frenkie De Jong was capable of turning defences into full attacks every single time he got on the ball.

With him in the side, Ajax's attacking prowess went up 10x. He was a cheat code. If you gave him the ball in defence, you almost get a guaranteed shot on goal.
'This ability is extraordinary, especially at the level De Jong could pull it off. It was, for the lack of a better word, a license to rain goals on the opponent. He simply took the ball from his goalkeeper or defenders and turned it into shots for his team all the time.'
'This is an extremely valuable tool for any team. The ability to turn defence into offense in an instant, repeatedly, can transform a good team into a great one. It is reminiscent of Beckenbauer.

Frenkie De Jong is not the only player who can do this. However, due to his unique
characteristics and consistency, he is perhaps the best in the world.

Top clubs in Europe are ready to pay lots of money for any player who has some of this quality—Partey, Jorginho, Keita, Ndombele, Rodrigo, etc.

Charlie Patino has the talent to rival the very best of them.
Apart from extreme technique, one of the necessities for this role is athleticism. This is so that you can roll tackles, hold off pressure, explode past players and carry the ball with assurance.

De Jong is notoriously fast when carrying the ball. He can take it past anyone.
This is down to his frame and agility. He is 180CM tall. People like to point out the technique he has but it is not the secret of his ability.

Extreme technical prowess is not so uncommon at the top level. What makes Frenkie De Jong unique is his body frame and his agility.
'Charlie Patino is 182CM tall, already taller than De Jong and blessed with similarly astounding technical abilities. However, he cannot generate the same physical explosiveness as De Jong when carrying the ball.

This is key. The Dutchman's ability to dribble with speed opens up
'otherwise closed passing angles and disrupts the set defensive shape of the opposition.

It is partly what makes him stand out among all the other deep-lying playmakers and marauding 6s—only maybe Naby Keita generates similar velocity when carrying the ball.
'Without this explosiveness, no matter how good Charlie Patino is, he would never be as good as Frenkie De Jong.

Arsenal coaches know this. As a result, the club hierarchy has hired and assigned the 17-year-old his own personal physical trainer to improve his running power.
It is obvious that, by this action, the club sees Patino as a potential heir to De Jong.

If Patino can improve his pace and power, then new angles and passing lanes will open up to him in a similar manner as with the Barcelona star, which he can then exploit with his technique.
'Physical explosiveness however is not the only secret to De Jong's ability.

Nominally, it is not easy to be a deep-lying playmaker at a top level. Mistakes are often ruthlessly punished by opponents. Granit Xhaka versus Burnley and Jorginho versus Arsenal come to mind.
You have to be able to handle the mental load of distributing 80, 90, 100, 200 passes in every match without error.

This is why many DLPs don't like making aggressive passes. It is not that they lack the ability or technique to, it is just that they don't want to ruin the flow
of their team's football by losing the ball cheaply. This is what is known as pass selection—choosing the right pass for every moment. Some, like Thomas Partey or Joshua Kimmich, are quite aggressive with their selection. Most are not.

Frenkie De Jong has the mental capacity and
technique to constantly pull off aggressive passes at high volume and success. For him, it is a breeze.

Charlie Patino also possesses similar levels of mental consistency. In fact, he has already captained England's u-16 teams as a 14-year-old in that role. That is special.
And at the same age for Arsenal, Charlie Patino also debuted as a midfield general for the U-18s, taking responsibility for the ball and its distribution.

Every game you see Patino play, no matter who he is up against, he takes responsibility for the ball and his team,
always coming short as an option, even under pressure, picking it up and playing out of it.

He was born to be a midfield general: to stroll, receive, deceive, and distribute. The administrators of English youth groups and Arsenal believe that he can do it to a world class level.
In conclusion, Charlie Patino is a astounding technical and mental talent, with an unmistakable ability to instantly translate defence into attack.

As an 11-year-old, he was famously pursued by Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Barcelona but eventually opted for Arsenal.
Arteta and the technical team have him earmarked as the inheritor of the lone 6 role in a 4-3-3 system.

For club and country, they can't wait for the English Frenkie De Jong, the boy capable of transforming an average team into a good one and a good team into a great one.
And that is it from our in-house expert!

This is the first player in our new youth series, with the boy who impressed Pele and went viral, Omari Hutchinson, up next!

Follow us to stay ahead of the series! Thank you for reading and retweeting.

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