Arsenal legend Ian Wright doesn’t think Joe Willock will get enough opportunities to play as a box-to-box midfielder for the North London club, according to football.london.
The 21-year-old joined Newcastle United on loan for the rest of the season on deadline day. He scored on his debut for the Magpies in a 3-2 win over Southampton in the Premier League.
Steve Bruce’s side have lacked goals from midfield this season and Willock showed the Newcastle boss just what he would have wanted to see on the Arsenal academy graduate’s debut for the club.
His performance was full of tenacity, aggression and a will to get into the box at the right time. He made five tackles during the game and started a number of Newcastle attacks.
The Magpies put in an impressive performance and managed to score three goals in a Premier League game despite losing talisman Callum Wilson to injury early in the first half and playing the majority of the second half with ten men after Jeff Hendrick was sent off.
Willock scored three goals and provided three assists in 17 appearances for the Gunners in all competitions this season but was never given an extended run in the Premier League.
A majority of his starts came in the Europa League. Wright feels that he will never be given sufficient opportunities to thrive as a box-to-box midfielder in North London. On Willock’s performance against Southampton, he said:
“I’m delighted for him. He said to Saint-Maximin, when he does break down the wing, cut it back as he’ll be there. That’s what he does.”
“He’s a box-to-box midfielder and I don’t think he’ll ever get the opportunity at Arsenal to play like he did for Newcastle, or stay in the team long enough to do it.”
“I just don’t think they’d give him the opportunity to stay in the team. It’s what he does, he gets in the box and he can finish.”
“I was really pleased for him as, like I say, he’s been at Arsenal for a long time and it must have been a very hard decision for him to say he’ll go out on loan.”
“He did enjoy his game, five tackles as well, winning the ball back to get Newcastle on the break. When you consider that, before this game, Almiron had two goals, Hendrick had two and Shelvey had one, they need goals from the midfield.”
“When you look at Willock trying to get in there, he gets in there with purpose and, when he does get there, he doesn’t panic.”
“Delighted for Joe as it’s a very integral time in his career at the minute.”