Willock: I’m delighted that Freddie is in charge

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Joe Willock says he’s delighted that Freddie Ljungberg has been handed the reins at Arsenal having developed a close relationship with the Swede in the last 18 months.

Like his mentor, the midfielder was formally promoted to the first team in the summer; one of a number of Academy graduates that developed last season at under-23 level under the watchful eye of the Invincible.

Ljungberg’s strong ties to the Academy are set to come to the fore this evening with at least seven youngsters selected to travel to Belgium to take on Standard Liege in the final match of the Europa League group stages.

Ahead of the game, Willock joined Freddie at his press conference. “Freddie is good at relating to the players because he’s done it, he’s worn the shirt and he knows how it feels to be in our position,” said Willock.

“I worked with Freddie last year with the under-23s and he taught me a lot. Not only on the pitch, but off the pitch as well. He’s like a mentor for me.

“So I’m delighted that he’s in the job now. It’s good for me and I’ll just continue working hard and working with him and learning from him.”

Elsewhere, Mohamed Elneny (remember him?) thinks Freddie can help the Gunners get out of our current slump.

“Yeah, 100 per cent,” said the midfielder. “I worked with Freddie before I left and he’s a really good coach. Why can’t he continue if Arsenal don’t find the new coach.”

In England to take on Wolves with loan club Besiktas, the Egyptian was asked for his take on the Gunners messy season.

“I’m talking with my team-mates and they know it’s a hard situation. Arsenal have never been like this before and everyone feels it,” he said.

“Everyone is pushing hard to get out of the situation because they know how big Arsenal are.

“They need to win some games to feel good inside. After that everything will come. You just need some wins.”

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Gunnermite

Ain’t we all? To get someone who actually understand the ways of the club in charge is never a bad thing imho. Wish and hope it all end well and save the club time and resources to find a new manager.

Martin

Early indications are not very hopeful.

Amusa

How we could do with a Elneny right now. I’m sure he would have been better than Xhaka, rotated the ball well and didn’t lose possession when pressed.

HelderHughes

Are we really getting Elneny nostalgia?! Next you’ll be telling me that selling Gervinho was a massive loss.

Pakgooner

Next up: how we could do with a Mkhi right now

Goonerrific

Coming soon – “why we shouldn’t have sold iwobi”

onenil

We’d have to keep pulling him off.

(Sorry this joke has past its sell by date)

Geefive

Elneny was never as shit as Xhaka. Xhaka is more of a leader that Mo, but that’s about it.

Cliff Bastin

Objectively speaking he makes less mistakes than Xhaka. He passes accurately and has a good engine. The problem is he literally doesn’t do anything else.

kaius

Surely we all recognise that settling for slow, one-dimensional midfielders like Xhaka and Elneny, instead of technical/physical midfield generals in the mould of Cazorla and Vieira, is why we’re in the mess we’re in?

Martin

Whatever you may think of Xhaka, he is far from one dimensional with one of the best passing ranges of any other player. Yes we have never replaced Vieira as a leader but Xhaka is far from being the reason for our present position

Dr. kNOw

@Martin erm… actually, he’s one of the worst players I’ve ever seen play this long for Arsenal. He is: 1. Slow 2. One-footed, and 3. Highly susceptible to falling apart under pressure That means he slows down play and invariably passes back, unless given ample amounts of time the likes of which you only see in international football. Funny he looks decent there, though the superhuman efforts of Zakaria have more to do with it. And that’s WITH the ball! He’s supposed to add value offensively, particularly as he’s such a terrorist defensively, right?! Watch any number of games, particularly… Read more »

Martin

So Wenger, Emery and Swiss manager are all wrong and he is continually picked. Played as a deep lying midfielder particularly with Torreira he is the best midfielder we have and his forward passing range is very good. The abuse he and his family have received from our toxic supporters is disgusting and I have every sympathy with his actions at the Palace match.

Dr. kNOw

Your deference to these coaches as though they are both omnipotent and infallible, is a mindset bandwagon onto which I cannot get onboard. Wenger and StatDNA made the mistake of signing him to offset the loss of Cazorla, and Arsenal have yet to qualify for CL ever since. To show Arsène doesn’t always know, he played him as a DM in a midfield with Özil and Ramsey in a 4-14-1. The epitome of Football Suicide. Emery inherited him with even worse alternatives than Wenger did, and those options, performances, and results got worse this season. Petkovic doesn’t even count. It’s… Read more »

Dr. kNOw

@Cliff Bastin Yes, he makes less mistakes, but I remember it being a disaster every time he was paired with Guendouzi the Wandering Ghost. Check last season’s stats.

Maybe Guendozi’s lack of positional discipline was the main cause, or Elneny didn’t provide enough leadership or cover. Either way, it’s wasn’t a good look.

Fatgooner

Time to play the stiffs tonight. Let the first team have a rest.

By the way, Joe: now that Freddie is the acting boss you’re supposed to call him “the Boss” or “the Gaffer”, not just “Freddie”. You respect the position.

C.B.

From the expert in disrespect…. (stiffs???)

C.B.

And we can call him Freddie but the players can’t?

Gunnersaurus Russ

Judged a person disrespectful from an article? How disrespectful

Gunnersaurus Russ

They are friends

Proud Arse

Hit the gym, fat boy.

A P

The gym doesn’t have 1 ounce weights, I’m afraid.

Lack of Perspective

You have become redundant aince wenger left.

Proud Arse

Wonder how in the world the academy never produce good CBs and DMs in the last decade? What’s going on with the kids talent scouts? Are they just useless?

Daniel

Kyle Bartley and Semi Ajayi are centre-back pairing for West Brom, currently 2nd in Championship, Luke Ayling starts for Leed, 1st in the same league, Isaac Hayden is playing for Newcastle for a long time, team level on points with Arsenal at the moment, another young talent at DM position was so good that Barcelona signed him from us, Marcus McGuane, and thats just to name a few…

TeeCee

Hmm, there are a lot of players being trotted out to do the “talk up Freddie” bit at the moment.
Now, if TPTB were thinking of hiring someone else in short order, this would be truly awful PR. Getting the fan base behind a manager and then replacing him? Makes no sense.
This suggests to me that they’re planning to take their time, maybe even giving Freddie the rest of the season.

Oregoon

You have the same cynicism gene that I have! Believe that most of us would like to have a manager with prior connections to the club, and make any appointment a long term project. Don’t really believe that we need nor want a mercenary type coach to come in now, and take over unless we are absolutely going for a four place finish in the league. And this would probably entail using the January transfer window ie spending money, and (having more ambition that these guys can muster.) Otherwise, more time gives the club a look at Freddie, our younger… Read more »