Dooley “excited” to have Patino in Azkals lineup
Santino Honasan on May 26, 2015 05:43 PM
Javier Patino (in blue) will be looking to help the Azkals in their World Cup campaign (Photo via AP Images)
With the qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2019 AFC Asian Cup less than a month away, the Philippine Football Federation has already bared the 23-man lineup that will be bearing the bearing the flag’s colors against some of Asia’s best football squads.
While there are a couple of notable names missing from the list and a few familiar ones making their way back on, one name has head coach Thomas Dooley excited for the Azkals’ upcoming campaign.
Filipino-Spanish striker Javier Patino will be one of the 23 players looking to send the Philippines into the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and for Dooley, he could very well be a major factor for the Philippine national football team.
"He is the player we desperately need,” Dooley explained. “We can create chances but we are found lacking in finishing ability. Patino is, though, a striker who knows where to be and how to finish. He is a typical one-touch player in the box.” Dooley told FIFA.com in an interview on the website.
Furthermore, the Henan Jianye FC member will be carrying one of the game’s most important numbers, one that carries a lot of responsibility on the field.
"He will play in the no. 9 jersey for us. Our no. 9 has to be dangerous, but most importantly he has to score goals when he gets a chance. Patino is the one who can give us that. I'm excited to have him for the qualifier." Dooley said.
It won’t be the first time for Patino to represent the country on the pitch, as he already made his Azkals debut back in 2014, but eventually missed the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup, where in the Philippines fell to Palestine, 1-0 in the final, costing them a potential first trip to the AFC Asian Cup. According to Dooley, Patino has always been a target player for the Azkals.
This time around, the stakes are bigger, and the 27-year old Patino is looking forward to helping the national team.
"I really want to play for Philippines, above all, this game is special. It's my first World Cup qualifying game and it should be a wonderful experience." Patino said on FIFA.com.
Patino and the rest of the Azkals will begin training camp on June 11, ten days before they kick off their World Cup/Asian Cup qualifiers campaign against Bahrain at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan.
The Azkals and Bahrain met earlier this year in a friendly match, with the Pinoy squad falling 2-1.