‘It’s a joke’: Rio Ferdinand lavishes praise on 18-year-old Arsenal talent

Rio Ferdinand is expecting to see big things from Charlie Patino in an Arsenal shirt in the coming years

Rio Ferdinand
Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand (Photo: BT Sport)

Rio Ferdinand is backing Charlie Patino to develop into a top player for Arsenal in the coming years, claiming that the 18-year-old’s talent is “a joke”.

The 18-year-old netted his first senior goal for the Gunners in the 5-1 win over Sunderland in the League Cup last month after having come on as a late substitute for Mikel Arteta’s men.

Arsenal have earned lots of praise for bringing some quality talent through their youth system in recent years, with Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe among the players to have broken into the first team in style over the last few seasons.

Former Manchester United defender Ferdinand reckons that midfielder Patino could be the next big star to break through into the first team at Arsenal, with the ex-England international expecting to see big things from the teenager in the coming seasons.

“Go on YouTube and watch his clips. It’s a joke what you see, the talent he’s got,” Ferdinand told BT Sport, as quoted by Metro.

“I’ve spoken to people at Arsenal and what they say about him in terms of this kid, talent-wise, could potentially be the best of the lot that’s come out in recent years. It’s a huge bar, but this kid has the talent and the big, big part of him is his mentality.

“When you talk to anybody who knows him, mentally, he doesn’t get carried away, doesn’t get too low, doesn’t get too high, very balanced kid, but has all the fundamentals in his game to really go to the top of the tree.

“This kid is the next. I just feel, when you watch him, there’s a beautiful way he plays, the balance, the rhythm, the fans will enjoy watching him.”

Speaking after Patino netted on his senior Arsenal debut against Sunderland, Arteta insisted that the Gunners should not get carried away by Patino’s potential as he looks to break into the first team.

“He is a kid that is coming through our system, a lovely kid,” said Arteta after the win over Sunderland. “He is training with us almost every week. It was a dream. As a debut to come here, to score in front of our fans, a really special moment.

“I think that is very positive [that the fans were singing his name]. They heard about him and know what he can become and now we have to cook him slowly. Today was a good start, I think.

“[Too much hype around him] is what we have to avoid. He still has a lot of competition in front of him. He is really young. And he needs to go step by step. Today he was lucky, he got the opportunity and he took it really well.”

Patino could well be involved once again when Arsenal host Liverpool FC in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final clash at The Emirates on Thursday night.

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