Willock buzzing that pal Nketiah is back with a bang

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Joe Willock was in fine fettle against Bournemouth on Monday night as an Arsenal side peppered with youngsters secured a 2-1 win to progress to the FA Cup 5th round.

After the game, the Academy graduate faced a few questions from the media (recorded by news agency Hayters).

Here’s what the 20-year-old had to say about new boss Arteta, old friend Eddie Nketiah and how he’s trying to make the most of his first team opportunities.

On Arteta’s start…

Everyone is buying into his philosophy. He’s very young so he can relate to players like me and he’s played with people like Mesut. We have to buy into it more and hopefully, we can keep performing like we did against Bournemouth.

On Arsenal’s youngsters…

There’s a lot of bright futures in the Arsenal dressing room. It’s exciting times. The future is really bright but we have to keep working hard and when we get opportunities we’ve got to take them.

On Nketiah being back at Arsenal…

Eddie is probably one of my closest friends so to play with him on the big stage is [great]. We try to keep each other’s heads up, to see him score was like me scoring, I’m so happy for him, I’m buzzing.

On the Academy kids establishing themselves at Arsenal alongside each other…

It’s not impossible, we’re all thriving, we’ve got good ability and we’re all hungry to work hard and to try and play. I think eventually it will happen. I hope so.

On new signings affecting development…

I’m just trying to work hard and focus on my game. If we do sign players, I just hope they integrate into the team like all the other signings have done.

On what happened to Eddie at Leeds…

Football is a funny game. I don’t know what went on there. Eddie is a brilliant player and a close friend of mine. I believe in him and I’m sure he can show the Arsenal fans what he can do.

On what Arteta is asking of him…

He wants me to stay in the pockets and to create stuff, he wants me to have a hand in creating goals. I try to do that. Hopefully, I make him happy. I’ve got people like Mesut to learn from, he’s teaching me a lot. I’m really buzzing to get more opportunities.

On what he thought about Arteta as a player…

He was a very good player, a brilliant professional and a brilliant manager. To learn from him now having grown up watching him, it’s a dream come true. I’m still trying to put more things into my game that I’ve learnt from him. And I’m still trying to improve as a player.

On Arsenal still getting used to Arteta’s intense tactics…

We’re all trying to get fitter to play that sort of game. We’re Arsenal Football Club, we’ve never sat back, we’ve always pressed, we’ve always played brilliant football. That demands fitness. Against Bournemouth, we did it for certain periods of the game and we won it, but we need to carry that over 90 minutes of the game.

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Cliff Bastin

Remember Chris Willock?

SharpasFc

Apparently he’s playing for West Brom right now.

C.B.

Do we have anyone longer than Joe Willock at the club? He has been at Arsenal for 15 years (per Wikipedia)!

Dave M

So is everyone going to join me back on the Joe Willock band-wagon now? It got pretty empty on here for a while there when y’all abandoned ship after a couple of tough games. Overall this kid has been a revelation this season. Super exciting player with loads of promise, high workrate, and the right mentality…

Rich

I’ve never been off the Willock bandwagon.

I’d be happy to start him in every game, he’s the future, and has characteristics none of our other midfielders have.

Getting him ready for next season makes perfect sense, and could potentially save us a fortune.

Grimster

Yeah, don’t see why a young player has to deal with all the Hayters.

loose_cannon

He’s always been an exciting player, though maybe a bit “old school” for some Arsenal fans! He can give us a dimension we’re currently lacking in the middle of the park, hopefully he can keep progressing.

Maul Person

Not talking about him incessantly doesn’t mean we don’t see what he’s capable of.

Best of John Lukic

For us old guys it’s hard not to think back to the time when Martin Keown, Michael Thomas, David Rocastle, Niall Quinn etc (etc = Martin Hayes) and then a bit later Paul Merson broke through under a new manager who used to play for us. George Graham added a handful of shrewd, cheap signings (Dixon, Bould, Winterburn), and voila – glory! Competition these days is quite a bit tougher than it was back then, so I don’t particularly see big trophies arriving very soon, but goddamn I’m liking the look of this and it finally feels fine to be… Read more »

Merlin's Panini

Yep, as long as there continues to be a clear and exciting plan to our approach in games I can get behind it. The results have been improving slowly and it feels like we’re on the right track.

Merlin's Panini

Joe Willock is always “buzzing” these days. As long as that coffee keeps producing performances like his in the first half against Bournemouth then that’s fine by me!

But yeah, what a great performance by the kids. They really took the game to Bournemouth. For me this confirmed that this crop of youngsters all have what it takes to make it at Arsenal. Hearing Smith-Rowe has been playing well at Huddersfield just adds even more to that. Just keep it up!

OdalGooner

Willocks kung-fu-like moves leading to the first goal, where he receives the ball from behind and just shields away his opponent and heads for goal litterally made me cheer and clench my fists. Flowing like water, with tons of drive and optimism – I’m more than impressed with Joe. Great to see him work hard, and work intelligently, and.. argh, to think how dismayed I was just a few months ago, and now I’m seeing so many positives! What a difference!!

Repsaj

I love this kids, would really wish they flourish under the watchful eyes of arteta

Danno5

Not that I care, but when Liverpool beat Everton with a young side, the media wet their pants. We do the same (and I suggest better) to Bournemouth and it’s not mentioned anywhere?

Magneto

The football media have been waiting for Liverpool to resurrect their glory
days from the ’70s & ’80s for a very long time, so make no mistake, if and
when they win the league this season (if they haven’t already) we’ll never hear the end of it.

onenil

Its Liverpool’s time, but we can grow stronger out of the limelight.

Santori

Really impressed me Joe. Got so much strength in that tall skinny frame of his. And love the way he carries the ball. I also thought Guendouzi did exceptionally well and has made a a strong case for rotation with Torreira or Granit. He looks hungry as ever and will more than likely absorb the directions given by Arteta in terms of positioning. Certainly he looked to be better disciplined and in the right spot to recycle the ball more efficiently. And some of his dribbles were superb. Ceballos also looked decent coming back in for being out for some… Read more »

Santori

Eddie looks sharp. Lots of positives from his display, hard running and killer instinct. This forthcoming summer, we run a very likely risk we may lose on key asset in either Laca or Auba. Which means Martinelli up top and one of the remaining key asset plus room for one more. My only issue with our attack at the moment is height and strength in the air. Martinelli looks the strongest in this respect. Nketiah somewhat shorter, his game looks more about positioning and burst pace. Fox in the box. Martinelli has more of a running style to his attack… Read more »

Martin

Why do you think that Aub or Laca will be sold?

Badaab

I’ve been skeptical of Joe Willock in the past, but he’s really coming into his own. The management change is going to do wonders for our younger midfield players.

Clock-End Mike

Love seeing these two together. Hopefully we’ll get more opportunities!

Heavy Gunner

We’re Arsenal Football Club,we’ve never sat back,we’ve always pressed,
we’ve always played brilliant football.That demands fitness! These words
alone makes me optimistic- and Joe could be in the spearhead to taking The Gunners right back to where they belong! Anybody not like Joe?