Mick McCarthy and Mikel Arteta are hardly two peas from the same pod, but both have been similarly impressed by Charlie Patino.
The Arsenal boss gave the 19-year-old his senior debut last season, scoring in a dazzling 10-minute cameo against Sunderland. And Arteta was delighted he was able to cap such a special night with a goal.
“He is a kid that is coming through our system, a lovely kid. 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.”
But he was at pains to point out that the Gunners needed to keep the youngster’s feet on the ground, having been crowned as a wonderkid well before his first senior start.
He added: “[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.”
That was the reason Arteta allowed Patino to go out on loan this season, with a campaign in the rough and tumble of the Championship perfect for his development. Blackpool supporters quickly fell in love with the forward, serenading him with a new song.
Michael Appleton heaped praise on the loanee during his spell in the Seasiders dugout: “I think both ourselves and Arsenal are delighted with Charlie. I think Charlie is in a good place and he’s looking forward to the games coming up.”
However, when Appleton was dismissed and the veteran McCarthy was brought in, there were concerns over how he would adjust. But the former Wolves and Sunderland boss has quickly been won over and much of that was down to one moment against Southampton.
Blackpool lost 2-1 to the Premier League club at St Mary’s, with Patino scoring the only goal for the visitors. However, it wasn’t his goal which caught the eye, rather his willingness to do the unnoticed, dirty work.
“He has a right go at it, Charlie,” McCarthy told the Athletic. “He’s a young man and sometimes he doesn’t always get it right. He might press and get played past, but in the first half, he lost it in front of us about 20 yards into their half and won it back in the 18-yard box at the other side of the pitch. I said, ‘If you can do that, you’ll do for me.’
“The willingness to do it is great. I’ve loved working with him for the last few days, he’s going to be a very good player.”
Patino has three goals for his loan side so far this season and knows exactly what he needs to do in order to thrive under the new manager. “That’s the bare minimum, every time you step on the football pitch you’ve got to give 120% and then the ability we can reach with every individual will show,” he said after the clash with the Saints.
“The main thing is just being together, showing our togetherness. We win together, we lose together, we draw together and it’s got to be the same mentality week in, week out. It’s been a great week of training and the gaffer and Terry (Connor) were really happy with how we trained as a collective, we’ve come here at a tough place and shown our spirit.”