Our resident Arsenal youth expert, Jeorge Bird, has confirmed that Joe Willock has been promoted to the Arsenal first team and been given a new squad number
After making 11 appearances in the 2017/18 season, the 19-year-old scored three goals in six first-team games last campaign and even had a cameo in the dying stages of the Europa League final when he replaced Mesut Ozil.
In the absence of Aaron Ramsey, we’re begging for someone to make those darting runs behind the defence that the Welshman specialised in. Obviously, those are big boots to fill, but Willock does seem to have an eye for goal and the attention of the coaching staff.
— Jeorge Bird (@jeorgebird) July 8, 2019
Having watched Matteo Guendouzi stake his claim to a regular starting position during pre-season last year, Willock must recognise that a strong showing in the coming weeks could lead to a similar opportunity.
The England under-20 international wore number 59 when he came on in Baku. This week he’s been training with number 28, a number previously worn by Lucas Perez, Joel Campbell, Kieran Gibbs and Kolo Toure.
UPDATE – it looks as though Eddie Nketiah has also been promoted. The 20-year-old, who has been linked with a loan move but insists he wants to stick around at Arsenal, has been spotted in the number 30 shirt. Last year he wore 49. Presumably, the club will announce these changes in due course.