Considering that he had been mainly involved with the U18 squad in the preceding campaign, last season can be seen to have gone rather well for Joe Willock.
The energetic midfielder seized his opportunity in pre-season with the first-team and proceeded to make eleven competitive senior appearances, which saw him feature in all four major competitions.
Willock doesn’t turn 19 until later this summer but he will already be thinking ahead regarding the next stage in his development.
Having been part of the title-winning U23 side, Willock has amassed plenty of experience at that level and will now be looking to play more regularly in the competitive game.
Achieving that aim at Arsenal could well prove difficult as, although the club are again in the Europa League, both Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny have signed new contracts recently.
Rather than waiting to play the occasional game for Arsenal, it would perhaps be best for Willock to head out on loan in the forthcoming campaign.
It is true that many of Arsenal’s recent loan moves for youngsters haven’t gone to plan, with many players returning to the club having barely played.
Willock is in a situation, however, where he needs to play regularly and add to his all-round game so that he can be fully equipped to challenge for a place in the first-team at Arsenal.
One option could be to send the Hale End product on loan to a Bundesliga club, where he could fit in well given his technical skills.
Next season is hugely important in Willock’s development as it could be the difference in determining whether he ultimately succeeds at Arsenal or not.
Arsenal have pulled Willock, along with Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson, out of the England squad for the upcoming U19 European Championship so that he can have a full pre-season with the club.
That would suggest that a decision on Willock’s short-term future hasn’t yet been made and Unai Emery will assess the youngster next month before deciding what the plan should be for him.
It is clear, though, that Willock would benefit hugely from a regular run of games and it wouldn’t be entirely surprising if he was to eventually go on loan.
Jeorge Bird is the author of www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird
I know Eddie and Reiss are more exciting but I was always more keen on watching Joe. He’s the complete package passing , skills and more importantly getting stuck in. Has a bit of Marchisio about him. Home to see him grow with us.
I like Willocks awareness in the middle, especially given his lack of experience. Also he has a neat way of turning away from danger and keeping things simple to start attacks.
Depending on who we sign, I’d be tempted to send Iwobi out on loan. I had high hopes for him but he looks a long way from an Arsenal first team player to me at the moment.
Who feels the need to down vote a comment like this?
There a few people who frequent these pages who seem to find it necessary to down vote even the most innocuous comments. No idea why.
How dare people have opinions that differ from yours. Get a grip.
I though he done well whenever he played. calm and composed. Him and AMN could be quite a pair in a few years. Id only consider him going on loan with some guarantee of gametime. Otherwise its a waste.
This is exactly what’s needed. He is potential but still half baked. Wenger’s Achille’s heel has always been keeping young players around the squad prematurely. If we keep Chambers, one of Holding or Mavropanos should go on strong loan. They won’t improve sitting on the bench. Its the same for Nketiah. Too many people think just because h had one decent match that he is suddenly the next Henry. Forget that, perhaps he is the next The Jeff, another lauded early on that has gone unmentioned by same people bigging him up. These young players need exposure and strong loans… Read more »
I am not so sure that a loan is the right thing for him now. Between wilshere leaving, our deep laying midfield players (Granite, Elnany) at the world cup (meaning that they will not be ready for the first three games of the seadon.), He may get his chance sooner than Jorge anticipates. Before somebody mention new players, I want to point out that all the players that have been cited as potential addition for the central midfield are also at the world cup anyway. With the mandatory 4 weeks rest, they are unlikely to be ready. I like Joe… Read more »
I cant see Egypt or Switzerland going far in the comp, they should both get their fair amount of holiday.
We’ve been here so many times before it’s soul-numbing. Loan moves rarely ever work out well. Right now we have Maitland-Niles, Mavropanos, Willock, Nelson, Nketiah, Mavididi, Bielik, Dragomir, Dasilva, and Virginia … hell, we have enough outstanding young players to constitute a really decent second eleven. The problem is it’s nowhere near easy gauging exactly where they’ll end up. Reine-Adelaide (20) and Zelalem (21) are also returning from injury and loan moves abroad to complicate and congest matters. Send players out on loan by all means, only not in England. Send them to France, Germany, or the Netherlands. Somewhere where… Read more »
With the League Cup and group stages of the UEFA Cup to play, I can see our young players like Nketiah, Nelson, Mavropanos, Dasilva, Holding and Willock getting a lot of 1st team exposure, so I’d like to see them stay.
Arsenal could then send them out on loan in January.
it could, but I doubt it
I think the idea of sending him on loan overseas is a great idea.
It would be great to get some feeder clubs back into the mix again. England needs to get their young players used to a different style of football.
I’ll get a lot of flack for this, but I’m still not quite sure about Willock. He’s very tidy and technical, but not quite sure he strength lies beyond that. He’s good on the ball, but not great at dribbling, tidy on the ball but not creative like the likes of Dragomir and others. CM but not really box to Box like a DaSilva, and Defensively astute, but not in the league of Beilik or even Shaef. Part of me does wonder if he got a bit of extra look in as he’s a “Willock” and we couldn’t lose the… Read more »
This is 1 of the times I wish we had a B team playing in lower leagues. This would be perfect for growing players.