Cape Town - Arsenal have handed a long-term contract to midfielder Joe Willock following an impressive start to life in the Premier League.
The 20-year-old has been rewarded for his recent performances after
making three appearances in the Premier League so far, but Arsenal have
refused to confirm the length of the contract.
Willock started the opening game of the season against Newcastle United, helping the Gunners record a 1-0 win at St James' Park.
He also helped Unai Emery's men beat Burnley 2-1, before being unable to stop Liverpool at Anfield.
After the 3-1 defeat to the Reds, Willock was dropped to the bench for the 2-2 draw in the north London derby with Tottenham.
Willock has been associated with the Gunners since he was four years
old and progressed through the club's academy, never leaving on loan,
before eventually making his senior debut in September 2017 against
Doncaster Rovers in the Carabao Cup.
The play-maker has now made 20 appearances for the club, and he was recently called up to the England Under-21 squad.
Willock has represented England from U16 level to U20 and Arsenal
technical director Edu says the deal is a reward for his hard work in
the last few years.
Edu told the club's official website: "We're delighted that Joe has
committed his long-term future to us. The hard work of the academy
coaches and staff, Joe, his family and everyone behind the scenes have
been key to the development of his potential.
"Bringing young players through to the first team from the academy is
an important part of our approach, and Joe's progression is a good
example for how we want to work in the future. Joe has shown hard work
and determination to get this far. He's continuing to develop, and we
look forward to him making a big contribution to the club."
Willock's route into the first team has been made easier after the departures of Aaron Ramsey and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
He will be hoping to be part Emery's squad for the trip to Watford on
Sunday, but he faces competition from Dani Ceballos, Lucas Torreira,
Mesut Ozil, Matteo Guendouzi and Granit Xhaka.
- TeamTalk Media