Mikel Arteta ready to give Joe Willock another chance to shine at Arsenal

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Mikel Arteta insists Joe Willock will be given a chance to make it at Arsenal next season after shining on loan at Newcastle.

The midfielder has scored after coming on as a substitute in each of his last three games but is ineligible to face his parent club on Sunday evening.

Willock moved to the north east in January having started just two Premier League games for the Gunners this season.

While the switch appeared to signal the end of his time at the club he joined before the age of five, his form since arriving in Newcastle has shown he could offer something to Arsenal moving forward.

“He is a player we really like so at the end of the season he will come back here and then we will make the decision again for what is best to move forward.”

Willock has scored just once in 40 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, but he has now struck four times in 10 games for Steve Bruce’s Magpies.

While that impact may have been unexpected by most, Arteta insists he was not surprised by Willock’s impressive start.

Joe Willock and Mikel Arteta walk off the field
Joe Willock, left, struggled to make an impact under Mikel Arteta, right, at Arsenal (Clive Brunskill/PA)

“He is a real threat in the opponent’s box, physically he can do anything you ask for and has got the right mentality, is good technically and he is English.

“We knew all this but he needed game time, he needed to expose himself away from our environment and we believe as well that Newcastle, Steve and his staff is the right place for him to do that.”

Although Arteta appears keen to keep Willock at the Emirates Stadium beyond the end of the current season, he refused to be drawn on the future of Hector Bellerin.

“If we read all the rumours about potential players that could be leaving and going the list would be so big – so no comment on that,” he said when asked about rumours Bellerin was set to leave.

“It doesn’t matter who I leave out, it is the same when I leave Cedric on the bench because we have some different options depending on the game and what we want to do with the opponent, we try to pick the right players to develop our plans.”

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