Joe Willock explains reasons behind switch from Arsenal to Newcastle

Newcastle United Unveil New Signing Joe Willock
The midfielder has moved to St James’ Park until the end of the season (Picture: Getty Images)

Joe Willock says the prospect of more Premier League game time and Steve Bruce’s detailed plans for him were pivotal in informing his decision to move from Arsenal to Newcastle on loan.

The 21-year-old joined the Magpies on deadline day and will spend the rest of the season at St James’ Park after struggling to nail down a regular starting berth in north London.

Willock has been at Arsenal since he was four-and-half years old and looked promising when initially breaking into the first-team back in 2017.

Willock has been at Arsenal for the majority of his life
The 21-year-old has been at Arsenal for the majority of his life (Picture: Getty Images)

The England youth international was a regular feature last season under both Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta, making 29 Premier League appearances.

But with the purchase of Thomas Partey last summer and the emergence of fellow academy graduate Emile Smith Rowe in recent months, Willock fell down the pecking order at the Emirates.

In his first Newcastle interview with NUFC TV, the midfielder admitted he was ‘disappointed’ by the amount of Premier League playing time afforded to him at Arsenal this season.

‘I have been blessed to play so many games for a great club like Arsenal but I am striving to get to the next level,’ Willock said.

‘To do that I need to play more in the Premier League. I was disappointed with the number of games I played for Arsenal in the Premier League this season.

‘I’ve come here to get more game time and improve myself but help the team as well and put Newcastle where they should be in the table.’

Willock is expected to make his debut for Newcastle when they host Southampton on Saturday.

The midfielder already has a clear idea of how he will be utilised by Bruce after a chat with the Magpies boss, which he insisted was key in making his mind up to join the club.

When asked how his move to St James’ Park transpired, Willock said: ‘For me, it was when I first spoke to the manager Steve Bruce, he spoke to me and gave me brilliant confidence to come here and try to make a difference.

‘That was my first initial thought and I felt that this was the club that I wanted to go to.

‘Then it developed and everything went smoothly but now I am here and ready to start the new journey.

‘The manager asked me how I was and how training was. He was very humorous with me, he made a few jokes, I’m a funny guy and I love to have jokes.

‘It was a conversation starter but then he spoke about he was going to use me, where he sees me in the team, he had a whole plan for me already.

‘I was really shocked, it’s the first time I’ve had a manager who had a whole plan for me.’

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