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ARSENAL

Is Charlie Patiño eligible to play for Spain and England?

Charlie Patiño scored on his debut in a 5–1 EFL Cup victory against Sunderland and is considered the brightest prospect at the Arsenal academy.

Arsenal's English midfielder Charlie Patino, who scored a goal on his debut, applauds supporters on the pitch after the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Arsenal and Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium.
GLYN KIRKAFP

Charlie Patiño made a goalscoring debut for Arsenal in a 5-1 EFL Cup victory over Sunderland after Mikel Arteta sent the academy player on towards the end of the game to replace Emile Smith-Rowe. The 18-year-old midfielder is considered by scouts and observers to be the brightest prospect in the Gunners academy and has been tipped to follow in Smith-Rowe’s footsteps towards the England national team – unless Spain have anything to say on the matter.

Born in Watford, Patiño is eligible to represent La Roja through his father, a native of Galicia in northern Spain. A player who is noted for his maturity, quality on the ball, a glorious left foot and plenty of skill and vision, the midfielder has cited former Spain and Arsenal stars Santi Cazorla and Cesc Fàbregas as his sporting role models.

Spain and England courting Patiño

Patiño has already played for the England under-19s but can switch allegiance to Spain if he wishes to, although the player has yet to decide on his international future with the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) keen to hand him a senior cap as soon as possible. A tug-of-war between the RFEF and the FA seems inevitable.

Arsenal spotted Patiño early and paid Luton Town a sizeable compensation to sign him when he was only 11 years old. Fans are excited by the youngster and Arteta also spoke highly of him after the game: “He didn’t let us down; he is a player with a lot of personality. I’m delighted for him. He’s a player that we like a lot. To make a debut like that, scoring a goal, it’s something special.”

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