Hargreaves says Arsenal man deserves to play and will have to leave Gunners

Matthew Briggs
Joe Willock TEAMtalk

Owen Hargreaves believes Joe Willock will have to leave Arsenal despite impressing in the 3-0 win over Dundalk on Thursday.

The 21-year-old scored and assisted Nicolas Pepe as the Gunners cruised home in their Europa League clash at The Emirates.

It was Willock’s third start of the season, but he has yet to get a start in the Premier League and Arteta has plenty of other midfield options.

Hargreaves though was impressed with the player’s display, although he concedes he will have to leave in order to get regular first-team football.

“I think he’s a really good player. I think he’s going to get a chance to play,” Hargreaves said on BT Sport. “He showed [on Thursday] if he gets a chance he can play, he’s a good player. He can do so much.

“That’s what he gives you, he gets in the box at the right place at the right time.

Subscribe to TEAMtalk’s daily newsletter…

“I thought I saw a bit more of that athleticism, rather than just coasting in there. I think his overall game is very good.

“He’s got great instincts. He has a good feel for the game. He’s very brave, he could be really good just depending on who is his partner – who is he with. I think there is a really good player in there. It is just about getting that right fit.

“At his age, he needs to play games. I think right now, at Arsenal, he is not going to get a ton of games.”

Willock ready to fight



Willock has made just 10 Premier League starts since his debut in 2017, and he is yet to feature in the league this season.

It may well be time in January to look elsewhere, but after Thursday’s win the Londoner was focused on improving and fighting his way into Mikel Arteta’s plans.

Speaking to BT Sport, Willock said: “I’m happy to get a win. I thought we played well. Every team is a struggle in Europe, we had to stick to our plan and I felt we did that.

“I am grateful to play for this team, to start from the beginning makes me happy and a proud moment for my family. I’m happy for the team and happy to score as well.

Mikel Arteta

“He [Mikel Arteta] just told me to keep working hard. I told him I want to fight for my position and hopefully I will get an opportunity again.”

Arteta was also happy with his fringe players.

“We gave a chance to a lot of players who haven’t played many minutes this season and it is something really positive because they showed they are well-prepared, they are at it, and they are ready when we need them,” said the Spaniard.

“They are always in the frame to play. It is not if we lose or win, it is what they bring to the team. How they train, what they are showing. Results at the end are consequences of many things, but individually how they do things is what determines whether they have the opportunity to play or not.”