Joe Willock was one of Arsenal’s best players on the pitch during Thursday’s win against Molde in the UEFA Europa League. The 21-year-old broke into the team last season and continues to improve, putting in one impressive performance after the other.
The midfielder netted his first goal for the club in a 3-1 victory against Molde, but it was his overall performance that caught the eye.
On a day Mikel Arteta decided to rest some of his key players, benching Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny, Willock took up the mantle and demonstrated why he deserves more regular starts.
The 21-year-old has rarely started games this season, often only playing in a cup game. However, his impressive and consistent performances cannot be ignored anymore.
Last season, the England U-21 star made 29 Premier League appearances, but most of them were as a substitute. And while he is currently behind the pecking order in terms of Arsenal’s midfield options, he deserves to play more.
After helping the Gunners to a 3-1 victory against Modle, Joe Willock indicated that he was in no rush to break into Arsenal’s starting line-up and that he still needs to improve certain aspects of his game.
"I'm just taking it game by game. It's part of my journey and I'm just a kid. I have to keep learning. I'm trying to work hard and when I get a chance in the Premier League, hopefully I can do the same thing," he told BT Sport, as quoted by Goal.
However, Bukayo Saka’s progress in the first team is a testament to the fact that young players who are good deserve to play. Like Saka, Joe Willock is ripe enough for regular first-team action.
It is the only way he’ll improve. Playing against the best teams helps players to understand the game better and gain more experience.
Joe Willock is yet to start a game in the Premier League this season, but Arteta has taken notice of his impressive performances.
Speaking post-game, the Spaniard hinted that the 21-year-old would soon have his chance if he kept producing on such a consistent basis.
"Joe Willock could have scored more, he created a goal and a good performance. Keep doing what he is doing consistently and his chance will arrive [in the Premier League],” Arteta said, as quoted by Goal.
"I really like the approach that the younger players are having for each game, they want to make the difference, they are playing with a lot of personality.”
Sometimes age is just a number and Saka’s rise to a regular starter in the Arsenal team shows Joe Willock can equally do a job when he’s given the opportunity. The kid has earned it.Published 06 Nov 2020, 15:50 IST