Mikel Arteta to include ‘special’ Arsenal gem in FA Cup plans with Patino
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Mikel Arteta to include ‘special’ Arsenal gem in FA Cup plans with Patino

Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Mikel Arteta will include young guns Salah-Eddine Oulad M’hand and Charlie Patino in his FA Cup squad when Arsenal visit Nottingham Forest.

That’s according to football.london, who report the Spaniard will award the Gunners’ rising stars spots in his plans this Sunday. The Emirates Stadium natives travel to the City Ground to begin their run in the competition.

Arsenal deem Salah and Patino two of the brightest prospects honing their skill in Hale End. The pair have shone in the north Londoners’ U23 fold under Kevin Betsy this season, as they strive to follow Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.

Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

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But Betsy made do without Salah or Patino on Friday whilst Arsenal drew 1-1 with Brighton’s development side. First-team boss Arteta wants to give the duo a taste of the senior fold by taking them to Forest.

Arteta is light on midfielders this weekend with Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny at the Africa Cup of Nations. Granit Xhaka is also a doubt, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles has joined Roma on loan.

Albert Sambi Lokonga is, therefore, the Gunners’ only out-and-out senior option available to feature at the City Ground. So, Patino could make his first senior start, while Arteta may give Salah his Arsenal debut at Nottingham Forest.

What can Salah offer Arteta with Arsenal debut vs Nottingham Forest?

Arteta awarded Patino his first-team bow in Arsenal’s Carabao Cup quarter-final win over Sunderland last month. He featured for the final 10-minutes, and also scored their fifth goal of the game against League One opposition.

Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Salah, meanwhile, has only featured in one senior Arsenal squad after Arteta included the 18-year-old on the bench for their Carabao Cup fourth-round win over Leeds United. But the midfielder failed to feature at the Emirates.

The former Feyenoord prospect has thrived in Betsy’s U23s this season, however. He has five goals and three assists after 14 appearances often in a box-to-box, deep-lying role.

Salah may now offer Arteta an option, likely from the bench, when Arsenal visit Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup. He would also aim to fulfil the Gunners’ Head of Emerging Talent Yousuf Sajjad’s praise with any action at the City Ground.

“Salah is a player I had watched from his time with the Dutch national team,” Sajjad told football.london. “We knew of his quality so once he had left Feyenoord and an opportunity arose to bring him in on trial, we moved quick.

“You could see straight away there was something special about him. He had an injury hit start last season but has shown his quality in almost every game he has played this season. I don’t even believe he has reached his best yet – there is still more to come.”

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