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‘Work out a pathway’ – Martin Keown suggests Arsenal need to find room for Joe Willock despite also saying he should go out on loan

Ex-Arsenal stalwart turned BT Sport pundit, Martin Keown, is clearly excited by Joe Willock’s development, though has offered slightly conflicting advice regarding the youngster.

Keown was one of a crop of players to come up through the Gunners youth ranks, so there are certain parallels between his journey and that of Willock.

“Arteta is trying to build a new culture,” Keown said on BT Sport, cited by the Daily Mirror, after the youngster had put in an impressive display against Molde in the Europa League.

“And what better way to do it then with young players from the academy who understand what it means to be Arsenal player.

“You come through the system, you’re dreaming of being an Arsenal player.

“I came through with a number of Arsenal players myself – [Tony] Adams and [David] Rocastle. I think there’s a love for the club.

“And it’s nice to be able to tease that out. Keep it in the group. We’ve seen that with [Bukayo] Saka, [Eddie] Nketiah on loan.

“But [with] Willock now we have to work out a pathway to be able to get into that first team.

“And if he has to go on loan, that’s fair enough. But for now, I think there’s a chance. He’s not far away from getting it right.”

The good thing for Arsenal fans is that Mikel Arteta is giving the youth a chance if they’re good enough.

As a former Gunner himself, the Spaniard knows what it means to wear the shirt and is clear in his mind what he demands of players who want to break into the first team.

On the evidence he’s displayed already, there’s no reason why Willock can’t establish himself at the Emirates Stadium and give Arsenal fans one more reason to enjoy the feelgood factor that Arteta is bringing back to the club.

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