Javier Patino still has an important role to play in the Philippines’ upcoming joint qualifiers of 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup, according to the team coach Thomas Dooley.
The 27-year-old Spanish-Filipino striker has only featured three times, scoring twice, for the Azkals after missing both the AFC Challenge Cup and AFF Suzuki Cup last year due to personal issue and several injuries.
“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’s official site.
“He will play in the No. 9 and 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.
Patino has been in scintillating form since his move from Thailand Premier League’s Buriram United to Henan Jianye, scoring five goals in his first ten games in the Chinese Super League this season.
“We tried to bring him in all the time, but because of injuries and his transfer to China, he wasn’t be able to join and play for us. But I am absolutely glad he maintains his prolific form,” he added.
The Azkals are scheduled to face Bahrain in their opening game on June 11 at Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan.