Great Britain

Arsenal wonderkid Charlie Patino, 17, signs first professional contract with Gunners after shining for U18s

ARSENAL starlet Charlie Patino has been rewarded with his first professional contract following his dazzling displays for the U18s.

The 17-year-old - who has been likened to Manchester City playmaker Phil Foden - joined the Gunners from Luton in 2015.

Patino has featured in four games for the U18s this campaign, where he has registered one assist.

Last term he featured in 13 matches in the U18 Premier League and FA Youth Cup - chipping in with two assists.

Arsenal congratulated Patino on his deal, as the said: "The 17-year-old midfielder is an Arsenal Academy graduate and England international.

"Charlie has played for a higher age group every season for Arsenal, as well as England. 

"As a 14-year-old, Charlie captained England under-16s against Spain, and in the same year he made his debut for our under-18s against Chelsea. 

"He has played consistently for our under-18s this season, and is known for his technical ability and agility in midfield. 

"We congratulate Charlie on his first pro contract and look forward to supporting him with his continued development."

Patino - who has trained with the first team this term - took to Instagram to speak of his joy as he posed for a picture alongside academy boss Per Mertesacker.

He said: "Today I signed my first professional contract with Arsenal.

"Thanks to everyone who has helped and believed in me during my journey so far.

"The hard work continues and my dream of one day making my full debut for Arsenal pushes me on."

As well as Patino, defender Zane Monlouis, 17, has also penned his first professional contract at the club.

Another England youth international, the teenager has been an ever-present figure for the U18 this term.

Taking to social media, he said: "Proud moment for me and my family signing my first professional contract after 10 years of hard work @arsenal. The journey continues."

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