Arsenal legend Ian Wright has warned that Joe Willock will not be able to earn a long-term role with the Gunners, even if he maintains the form he showed on his Newcastle debut.
Midfielder Willock scored on his first appearance as a Magpies loanee, netting in the 3-2 win over Southampton.
The 21-year-old sped into the box and finished coolly with his first touch to put the hosts in front on Saturday.
Willock admitted that he found it tough to leave the club for whom he has played since childhood. However, he did so in search of greater opportunities and a platform to launch his career.
Despite making an instant impact, though, Wright has said that Willock is unlikely to stamp his mark at Arsenal.
“I’m delighted for him,” Wright said on Match of the Day. “He said to [Allan] Saint-Maximin, when he does break down the wing, cut it back as he’ll be there. That’s what he does.
“He’s a box-to-box midfielder and I don’t think he’ll ever get the opportunity at Arsenal to play like he did for Newcastle, or stay in the team long enough to do it.
“I just don’t think they’d give him the opportunity to stay in the team. It’s what he does, he gets in the box and he can finish.”
Nevertheless, Willock has certainly put himself back in the spotlight and will hope to do so again as the season progresses.
Wright also hailed the England Under-21 international for adding to a Newcastle team which is beginning to find goals.
Wright buzzing for Willock
“I was really pleased for him as, like I say, he’s been at Arsenal for a long time and it must have been a very hard decision for him to say he’ll go out on loan,” the pundit added.
“He did enjoy his game, five tackles as well, winning the ball back to get Newcastle on the break.
“When you consider that, before this game, [Miguel] Almiron had two goals, [Jeff] Hendrick had two and [Jonjo] Shelvey had one, they need goals from the midfield.
“When you look at Willock trying to get in there, he gets in there with purpose and, when he does get there, he doesn’t panic. Delighted for Joe as it’s a very integral time in his career at the minute.”
Among Willock’s chiefs aims is earning a place at the Under-21 European Championships, which begin in the March international break.
He has four appearances for the Three Lions at that level, but has not featured since November 2019.