Rio Ferdinand believes that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta must hand Joe Willock a role next season after his loan spell at Newcastle.
Willock joined the Gunners as a boy, but made the difficult decision to leave his hometown club in January. While he made 16 appearances in the first half of the season, he failed to last the full 90 minutes in several games. As such, he moved up north to St James’ Park in the winter to find more game time.
Indeed, he has proved his doubters wrong, making a fantastic impression for Steve Bruce’s men.
He has played in all but one Premier League game since moving to Tyneside, scoring four goals to boot.
What’s more, they have proved crucial goals in Newcastle’s fight to pull clear of the relegation zone; he earned a point against Liverpool on Saturday after scoring the winner in a 3-2 thriller with West Ham.
Newcastle are eyeing a permanent deal for the 21-year-old, but one journalist says that the player’s fee could prove a stumbling block for the Magpies.
In the event that Willock returns to London, Ferdinand believes that his form has warranted him a bigger role.
“You know what, I like Joe Willock,” the pundit told FIVE.
“He’s someone at Arsenal that I would have kept. He’s a good young player. If Arsenal don’t take him back and have him around that squad… I don’t know, man.
“I really like him and I like his personality. He’s not shy to come on the big stage and play and perform.
“And the last three goals he’s scored have been massive goals for Newcastle. It shows he’s got the temperament.”
Arteta, Bruce fight for Willock
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce has admitted that he wants to keep Willock next season.
He said: “We would love to keep him here. He is the type of player you’d love to build your club around.
“Whether we can or not I’m not quite sure.”
Arteta, however, has hinted that he wants the player to return to north London.