Arsenal legend Martin Keown has suggested that youngster Joe Willock may need to leave the club on loan in search of further opportunities.
Willock made 29 Premier League appearances for the Gunners last season, but is yet to play a minute of league football this term. That is despite netting in two consecutive Europa League games at the Emirates, including a strike in a 4-1 win over Molde yesterday evening.
Competition for places in Mikel Arteta’s squad is tough, and at 21-years-old, Willock needs minutes on the pitch to continue his development. Club legend Keown suggested on BT Sport yesterday night that the youngster may need to move on loan in order to play.
Keown is quoted by The Sun saying:
“He wants to make the difference, he’s got great technique and drive and they need to make use of that for the first time. He’s finding the extra gears and he’s maturing nicely. If he’s not getting the chances, is he going to have to go on loan?”
“We don’t know. He’s going to let the manager decide. The shape – they now want to play two, Elneny and Partey in that five. If he wants a third player Willock has to come into his thinking.”
“He’s got to be one of the first on the list to put those two under pressure. We have to work out a pathway for him to get in that first-team, if he has to go on loan – he’s not far away from getting it right.”
Arteta has proven himself willing to field his youngsters when they are deserving, but Willock has now proven himself to be, so if he continues to miss out on Premier League action he will have no choice but to leave the club on loan.
While there is little chance of him being on the plane to the European Championships next summer, Willock will hope to be involved in the England setup in the future. He will only achieve that if he is playing regular first-team football.