Mesut Ozil has praised former Arsenal winger Chris Willock ahead of tomorrow’s friendly against Benfica.
Chris Willock was one of the brightest prospects in Arsenal’s academy and was close to a first team breakthrough before he departed for Benfica this summer.
Willock opted not to sign a new contract at Arsenal and rejected the likes of Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund to join the Portuguese champions.
Ozil, who trained with Willock plenty of times last season, has praised the 19-year-old and wished him well at his new club.
“He trained with us now and then, and was a very good player, very hungry. “I wish him all the best there,” Ozil said, as reported by the Evening Standard.
“For him it’s an opportunity to show his former club what he can do.”
Chris Willock has been included in Benfica’s squad for the Emirates Cup and could even feature against Arsenal on Saturday.
The match could seem him line-up against younger brother Joe Willock, who has featured in all of Arsenal’s pre-season friendlies so far. The younger Willock brother has impressed in pre-season and may have earned himself some game time in Arsenal’s cup games this season.
Losing Chris Willock was a blow to Arsenal as he frequently impressed for the U23 team and was pushing for a breakthrough into the Arsenal first team.
His decision to move clubs suggests Arsenal weren’t able to assure him that he’d get more first team opportunities next season.
A move to a big club like Benfica shows he’s also highly rated in Europe and he’ll be keen to prove his talent to the Emirates crowd this weekend.