Arsenal debutant Charlie Patino once embarrassed Phil Jones in Under-23 clash

You could have forgiven Manchester United defender Phil Jones for breaking out in a cold sweat when he saw Charlie Patino coming on for his Arsenal debut against Sunderland on Tuesday night.

The Gunners were 4-1 ahead when Patino, 18, was introduced for his debut with 11 minutes remaining of the Carabao Cup quarter-final clash against the Black Cats – and he didn't waste any time making his mark.

Showing the same predatory instinct as Arsenal greats of the past, Patino pounced on a perfectly weighted pass from Nicolas Pepe to score his first Gunners goal in second-half injury time.

It may have been the teenager's first goal at senior level, but he has caught the eye at youth level for some time, as United flop Jones would no doubt attest.

In a fixture against United's Under-23s, Patino won the ball back inside the opposition half before embarking on a daring run past three defenders – including Jones – and delicately dinking the ball over Dean Henderson.

It was a goal which showed why the former Luton Town academy starlet is so highly thought of in north London, a view that has only been enhanced after his cameo against Sunderland.

Can Charlie Patino become an Arsenal legend? Let us know in the comments section.

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Delighted Arsenal fans took to social media to celebrate the youngster's strike which rubber-stamped the club's place in the Carabao Cup semi-finals.

One person said: "Charlie Patino scores on his Arsenal debut. Hale End back at it again."

A second Twitter user added: "Charlie Patino, remember the name! One of our own! No academy compares to Hale End…"

While someone else chimed in with: "A day we've all been waiting for. Charlie Patino's debut and he capped it off with a goal. He may have only had a few touches, but a footballer as intelligent as him is able to influence a game with just pure movement. Class today @CharliePatino10."

Arsenal scout Brian Stapleton spotted Patino at the age of just 11 and is in no doubt that he has what it takes to become a Gunners great.

"Of all the years I’ve been scouting, he’s the best kid I’ve ever seen," said Stapleton, who secured his signature after watching him in action for Luton.

"I got a tip off about Charlie from a guy, so I went over there and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. He was 11 and I think he was playing in the Under-13s, and I was like ‘wow’.

"His first touch was unbelievable, his vision, his awareness of space. He was way above his years, he was on another planet to anyone else on the pitch.

"I made a phone call to my head of my department at Arsenal at the time, Sean O’Connor. He asked what I thought and I said, ‘well, I’m not coming back again. I don’t need to see any more, you need to sign this kid straight away.’

Stapleton added: "Sean O’Connor discovered Jack Wilshere and he said to me that Charlie is the best player who has ever walked through the doors at Hale End.

"The kid has got so much potential, but he’s not there yet."

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