Joe Willock impressed Arsenal fans with a driving run taking on half of the Blackburn Rovers team, during the Gunners’ last u23 match on Monday.
In recent months Willock’s progress has been overlooked somewhat, because of the other rising midfield talents at Arsenal right now. Emile Smith Rowe and Matteo Guendouzi are stealing the headlines, but 19-year-old Joe is quietly playing some of his best football with the academy.
That was emphasised on Monday, as he made a fantastic run in search of a late winner for the u23s. The move eventually resulted in a red card for the opposition man.
No goals in Arsenal’s u23 match on Monday, but check out this run from Willock which eventually got a Blackburn player sent off #AFCpic.twitter.com/lr1Kl3qmwY
— Dan Critchlow (@afcDW) September 19, 2018
Arsenal fans are clearly starting to take notice of the progress of their often-overlooked academy star:
Willock is the u23 Kaka https://t.co/CR7u43JIjA
— n® (@theflawedfoot) September 19, 2018
Don’t know where people are getting their opinions of him from. Top player, can definitely do a job for the first team already, and still developing.
— Mansoor Ahmad (@Mansoor98A) September 19, 2018
Way too early to write him off the way some have. Great close control and an incredible athlete. Still not convinced his future is at cm, though.
— what would arsene do (@oawgunner) September 19, 2018
Particularly in the last few games, Willock has started to come to life. He scored an early goal in the u23s’ win over Tottenham, then followed that up with the third in Arsenal’s 3-0 debut EFL Trophy victory over Coventry City.
Against Blackburn, he had to do a lot on his own, with key players rested for the Europa League and Charlie Gilmour getting a red card. To help his side to a draw in those circumstances was a job well done, but he was unlucky not to win it late on, after another powerful run ended with the goalkeeper making a crucial save.
Hopefully he can keep moving in the right direction and get more first team chances soon.