Joe Willock chose to join Newcastle United on loan before the January transfer deadline, and he’s revealed what went into that decision.

LONDON, ENGLAND: Joe Willock of Arsenal celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the UEFA Europa League Group B stage match between Arsenal FC and Dundalk FC at Emirates Stadium on October 29, 2020. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Joe Willock was one of a few players to make temporary moves away from Arsenal on the final day of the winter window. The 21-year-old admits he was searching for regular Premier League games in the second half of the season.

“I have been blessed to play so many games for a great club like Arsenal but I am striving to get to the next level,” Willock said.

“To do that I need to play more in the Premier League. I was disappointed with the number of games I have played for Arsenal in the Premier League. To come here and get more games and help the team and put Newcastle where they should be in the table.”

Joe Willock on Newcastle boss Steve Bruce

Newcastle United's English head coach Steve Bruce reacts during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Crystal Palace at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on February 2, 2021. (Photo by LEE SMITH / POOL / AFP)
Newcastle United’s English head coach Steve Bruce reacts during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Crystal Palace at St James’ Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on February 2, 2021. (Photo by LEE SMITH / POOL / AFP)

Unsurprisingly, Joe Willock admits Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce also played a part. The two had a conversation before the move where Bruce impressed Willock with his thoroughness.

“I had a chat with Steve Bruce,” Willock continued. “First, he approached it in a nice way. He asked how I was training and how I was and he approached it by being humorous, he made a few jokes, and I am a funny guy and love to have jokes. That was a starter.

“He talked about how he would use me, where he sees me in the team and he had a whole plan for me. I was shocked. That was the first time I have spoken to a manager and they have had a whole plan for me.

“He called me a few times and there were a lot of things that made me think this is the right club for me.”

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal speaks with Joe Willock of Arsenal before he is substituted on during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal FC at Vitality Stadium on December 26, 2019 in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images)
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal speaks with Joe Willock of Arsenal before he is substituted on, on December 26, 2019. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta also reportedly helped to reassure Willock that Newcastle would represent a good option for him until May.

“Mikel Arteta is an amazing manager and I have respect for him,” Willock added. “He did speak to me and give Steve Bruce a brilliant recommendation and says he is a man true to his word.”

Finally, Willock admitted that the stature of the club and the reputation of the supporters helped him make up his mind.

“Newcastle is a team I always watched. When I made my debut here I was so scared because of the fans! I told my mum and dad it felt like the fans were on top of my head. I have never experienced that before in a stadium!”

Obviously, Willock won’t have the backing of the Newcastle fans in stadiums just yet, but he’s sure to feel the love from the supporters online. As for the rest, it’s encouraging to hear Bruce has such a specific plan for the midfielder, hopefully, it involves lots of games.