Mikel Arteta hails Joe Willock’s ‘special’ qualities that are unique to Arsenal’s squad

Willock starred against Dundalk
Willock starred against Dundalk (Picture: Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta has talked up Joe Willock’s ‘special qualities’ that he feels no other member of his Arsenal squad possesses.

The 21-year-old has shown promising flashes since graduating from the Gunners’ academy in 2017.

With the likes of Dani Ceballos, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny and new boy Thomas Partey all ahead of him in the pecking order in midfield, Willock’s opportunities have been limited this season.

Arteta talked up Willock's abilities
Arteta talked up Willock’s abilities (Picture: Getty Images)

But the England youth international made a statement with his excellent performance in last week’s 3-0 victory over Dundalk in the Europa League as he registered a goal and an assist.

And speaking ahead of Arsenal’s clash against Molde on Thursday, Arteta highlighted the midfielder’s ability to make runs from deep as a quality that is unique to his team.

‘He has some special qualities that only he has in this squad, and that we have to use,’ the Spanish boss said.

‘I think you could see the last game he showed what he can do, to play in those pockets and to make runs into certain areas.

‘He’s got the ability to make the box, his physicality and he’s grown in his understanding of the game and areas where he needs to be involved to affect the game. It’s growing all the time.

‘I’m really happy with the way he’s evolving, he’s doing everything he can, so the fact he’s not playing more is because of the competition in those areas.’

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