Jack Wilshere may have only just returned to training at former club Arsenal but has already earmarked Charlie Patino as a player who will have a bright future.
Former England international Wilshere is currently training with Arsenal’s Under-23s as he looks to gain fitness and find a new club.
The 29-year-old, who has been a free agent since leaving Bournemouth at the end of last season, will also occasionally train with the Gunners first-team as well as studying coaching approaches.
Wilshere watched on from the stands as Arsenal’s Under-21s won 4-3 at Newport in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday night.
Patino did not play having made his England Under-19s debut last week and has already made a name for himself among the fanbase, who were keen for him to make his first-team debut in the Carabao Cup last month.
Wilshere, too, has seen enough of the 17-year-old to back him to make it at the club.
“I know him. I’ve seen him play and he’s a good player,” Wilshere told the PA news agency.
“He’s obviously really young still and got a lot of developing to do but he’s definitely one who everyone at the training ground is talking about.
“The first-team players know who he is and he is a good player and one for the future for sure.”
Wilshere knows what it takes to progress through the ranks and make a name for yourself at the Emirates Stadium but is keen for comparisons between Patino and himself to be kept to a minimum, adding: “Yes, there are some similarities.
“There are quite a few but he is a different player as well and I think it is important people see him for who he is rather than say: ‘oh he is the next Jack Wilshere’.
“He has certainly got some qualities I didn’t have and there are things he needs to work on but he is going to make a name for himself in the future.”
Wilshere, talking as an ambassador for the Utilita Kids and Girls Cup, insists he remains focused on getting fit at Arsenal and does not expect to sign for the club again.
His agreement runs until the end of January and will see him take his first steps into coaching as well as participating in training sessions.
“It is good to be back – first of all at Arsenal but also just around players,” he said.
“Before when I was training on my own and that brings its own difficulties so to be around top-quality players is nice.
“It is just until January. I’m just focused on getting as fit as I can, training as much as I can and being around good players again and learning from them and the manager and see where I am in January.
“I’ve been to a couple of Under-23 games because I’m going to start helping them and coaching them and the best way to get to know players is to go and watch them play in games and learn about them.”