The 20-year-old has become a regular under the Spaniard, who tipped him to go on to bigger and better things
Arsenal manager Unai Emery believes that Joe Willock has what it takes to fill the midfield voids that Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere have left behind.
Ramsey was a stalwart at Arsenal but left the Gunners over the summer to join Juventus on a free transfer.
Wilshere was also at Arsenal for 10 seasons before he left to link up with West Ham ahead of last season.
The duo, who patrolled the Arsenal midfield for much of the current decade, left an opportunity that young players like Willock are beginning to seize.
The 20-year-old academy product has become a regular in the last year, making nine total appearances in 2019-20 and scoring three goals thus far.
Emery is excited by Willock’s potential, and believes the young midfielder has what it takes to become a regular at the Emirates just like his predecessors.
“Willock started the pre-season with us last year, I didn’t give him more minutes but he was with us in every game, working in training, playing matches in the cup and at the end of the season,” Emery said.
“He deserved to start this season with the first-team and with us. My decision was after I saw him the last two months of last season working with us, his really big challenge was that Jack Wilshere left here, Aaron Ramsey left and he had to take that opportunity to be with us.
“The last months of last year was the moment I spoke with him and said: ‘For you it is a big challenge in the new season to do differently and really show us you can take their position in this squad’.
“I told him he is improving but he needs to not stop that improvement, we are working with him to improve even more.
“But, if his progression keeps going the way it is going right now, I don’t know when he will stop and how far he can go.”
Willock, alongside players like Bukayo Saka and Reiss Nelson, are demonstrating the strength that Arsenal have in their academy.
“The very first thing I learnt when I came here was how historically important the academy and young players are to this club,” Emery said.
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“It is my responsibility to carry on that work from the academy and progress those players for when they arrive to the first-team, help them in training every day.