Javier Patino’s return to Buriram United could be a boon for the Azkals

Earl Averilla Earl Averilla

Sometime in late February 2018, news broke out that Javier Patino has been released by Chinese Super League club, Henan Jianye, just as he was on the road to recuperation from an ACL tear.

There have been reports that Patino’s severance with the Henan-based club did not go smoothly with some compensation issues, but the good thing was, just less than two months being without a club, Patino is back with his former employers, Buriram United of Thailand.

Though the Filipino striker has yet to see full action as he completes his recovery, his recent return to Southeast Asia could be a huge boost for the Philippine National Football Team, the Azkals.

Here are the reasons why Javier Patino’s impending return to action in Thai League 1 could be a good thing for the Philippine team:

Wealth of experience

A product of the Spanish footballing system (with stints in Segunda Division sides Cordoba and Xerez) before moving to the top-tier league in Thailand with Buriram United, then to the demanding Chinese Super League with Henan Jianye (before suffering a major knee-injury), and being able to thrive in both tenures provide a strong playing portfolio and experience for the Philippines’ forward.

Goals, goals, and more goals!

As a striker, Patino’s primary role is to score goals, and score goals he did.

Whether it’s a brilliant individual effort or scoring an awkward, poached goal off a rebound that just managed to cross the line, he can convert chances for his team whether if it’s in club football or international duty.

Good in the air and on the ground, Javier Patino’s knack for scoring goals earned him the nickname “Patigol” that began to be associated to him during his stint in Thailand.

Excellent footballing IQ

Though technically a centre-forward, which is an out and out striker, he is able to adjust his role well-beyond than just waiting for the ball and putting it at the back of the net.

Depending on the situation, the tactical setup, or the philosophy of the team he is playing with, he can sit deep, be a lurker or a target-man.

In terms of goalscoring opportunities, aside from scoring goals himself, he can create chances for his teammates by supplying an excellent through ball, or drawing the defense to him to create space for his strike partners or other offence-minded teammates.

A very good example of his role-flexibility was during his stint with the Philippine national team in which the goalscoring options didn’t solely relied on him.

During the World Cup and Asian Cup double purpose qualifier match against Yemen last June of 2015, he was able to provide assists for Misagh Bahadoran and Iain Ramsay for a monumental 2-0 win, which could arguably be one of the best performances of the Azkals in recent history.

In another situation Patino and Ramsay had another reversal of roles with the former being the provider (Iain Ramsay usually operates on the left wing as a supplier of goalscoring chances) during a historic win against DPR Korea last March 29, 2016.

Such capability of Patino to adjust on the fly and his penchant for understanding situations to create opportunities for his squad make him a strong addition to the Azkals lineup.

His ability to play with Phil Younghusband and pick-out Misagh Bahadoran and Iain Ramsay who are mainly support strikers speak volumes of what he could add in terms of the offensive options and dimensions for the national team.

The benefit for The Azkals

With Patino’s recent return to Buriram United, at a time when he’s nearing full completion in his road to recovery from a major setback, it is a possibility that he will be back to playing competitive football once again soon.

And that could pave the way for his availability to suit up for the Azkals not just in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, but also in the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup this November.

That means only one thing, it is highly likely that the Azkals can field a strong attacking frontline in the Suzuki Cup and that could boost the team’s chances to go far in the tournament.

Patigol’s return to Southeast Asian football could never be more timely.

Photo credit: The Azkals Facebook