Three days ahead of Arsenal’s return to Premier League action following the season’s first international break, news broke that 20 year old midfielder Joe Willock has penned a new long-term contract with the Gunners through the 2023 season.
Midfielder Joe Willock has signed a new long-term contract with Arsenal— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) September 12, 2019
Willock, who has been with Arsenal since his youth, consistently impressed fans throughout the preseason with sharp displays against the likes of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid after being a sporadic cup tie player for the Gunners if the previous season. Following a promotion to the first team ahead of the new Premier League season, Willock’s solid form continued as he put in mature starting performances in the 2-1 win against Burnley and in the 3-1 loss at Liverpool.
With the new contract, Willock will look to be a key member of Arsenal’s very young midfield for years to come. The early season midfield rotation has already relied heavily on the likes of Matteo Guendouzi (20), Lucas Torreira (23), and Dani Ceballos (23) who, alongside Willock, have breathed new life into the middle of the pitch for the Gunners.
Manager Unai Emery’s show of faith in the English international is another positive sign that Arsenal are putting a heavy emphasis on the integration of Academy players into the first team. The promotion of Freddie Ljungberg from U23 coach to first team assistant coach has helped with that integration, as the likes of Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith Rowe have joined Willock in being promoted to the first team this season.
With Ainsley Maitland-Niles already a regular starter and Eddie Nketiah putting in a very promising early spell on loan at Leeds, the current crop of Arsenal academy graduates are shaping up to become a part of Arsenal’s big picture plans for the foreseeable future. Willock’s new contract is a fantastic show of faith from the Gunners after the work and dedication Joe has given the club year in and year out.
Congrats, Joe. You have certainly deserved it.