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Spain Battle England To Secure Wonderkid Charlie Patino's International Future

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Spain Battle England To Secure Wonderkid Charlie Patino's International Future

England and Spain are attempting to secure the international future of Arsenal wonderkind Charlie Patino, who has dual nationality.

The 17-year-old has put in a number of eye-catching performances for his club's U23s side, which has unsurprisingly altered the attention of the English and Spanish national set-ups.

Patino is eligible to play for La Roja on account of his Spanish dad, but the midfielder has already played for England's U15s, U16s and U17s.

According to Cadena Ser, Spain have marketed Patino "in red", given his immense talent and potential.

Some within Arsenal claim that Patino is better than Jack Wilshere was at the age of 16, while comparisons have also been made to Phil Foden given their similar styles of play.

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Image Credit: PA
Image Credit: PA

Patino may be firmly established within the English system, but the teenager has previously spoken highly of Spain and the country's footballing philosophy - having been greatly influenced by former Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas.

"I've always had an appreciation for that Spanish style of play. Growing up I adored Santi Cazorla as a player, and Cesc Fabregas and Mikel Arteta were some of my favourites too," Patino told Arsenal's official website.

"But there's something about Santi for me and the qualities that he had - he was something else."

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Patino opting to represent Spain would be yet another example of Gareth Southgate losing a promising youngster due to an allegiance switch.

Earlier this year, rising Bayern Munich star Jamal Musiala opted to represent the German national team, despite playing numerous times for England's U21s.

Image Credit: PA
Image Credit: PA

Musiala's decision was partially influenced by the lack of a path to England's senior squad, which currently boasts an abundance of exceptional attacking talent.

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History may repeat itself if that route continues to be blocked, as Spain are currently doing all they can to lure Patino away from St George's Park.

While not publically putting any pressure on his son to opt for the Spanish national side, Patino's father has recently commented on the 17-year-old's first professional contract - which he signed earlier this year.

"We are happy to sign that first contract, Charlie has worked hard," his father told La Opinión a Coruña.

"Arteta and all the technicians love him, but not only for what he does on the pitch. He doesn't give problems, he listens, he asks them, he is interested in what they tell him."

Topics: Jack Wilshere, Cesc Fabregas, England, Arsenal, Gareth Southgate, Spain

Tom Fenton
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