Joe Willock has enjoyed a magnificent start to the new season for Arsenal. The 20-year-old midfielder has started both of the Gunners’ Premier League matches so far. He has impressed against both Newcastle United and Burnley and is playing with a great deal of confidence.
Considering the young Englishman only has 19 first team appearances under his belt so far in his career, it is extremely impressive how comfortable he looks at the highest level. Unai Emery clearly has a great deal of faith in Willock, and the Emirates Stadium faithful can expect to see plenty more of the academy graduate over the course of the campaign.
Willock comes from a talented footballing family. His older brothers both play professionally. 23-year-old Matty Willock rose through the ranks at Manchester United, and plies his trade for Gillingham. Meanwhile, 21-year-old Chris Willock is currently on loan at West Brom from Portuguese club Benfica.
Chris Willock is another product of the Arsenal academy, and was highly thought of by the north London club before he moved away. However, the winger has failed to establish himself in Portugal.
Joe and Chris came through the Arsenal academy together, but it is the former who has managed to make an impact at the club. Speaking to the official Arsenal website, Joe Willock has said, “obviously people would always say I was in his shadow, but that’s what people say. I feel like I’ve always had my own identity…but I feel like it has helped me because it has helped me to come out and prove people wrong…I’ve always felt that I can produce on my own two feet”.
Both Chris and Matty Willock may well go on to have fine careers. However, Joe Willock is certainly the one of the three who is currently attracting the most plaudits. Like Chris, he may at certain points have been tempted to quit the Gunners in search of regular football elsewhere. However, he deserves credit for sticking it out at the Emirates Stadium and fighting for a place. He is reaping the rewards of that now. He has forced his way into the team and now has the chance to establish himself as a star under Emery.