‘We would love to keep him’ – Steve Bruce keen to extend Joe Willock’s stay at Newcastle after West Ham winner

Joe Willock celebrates his goal in Newcastle's Premier League clash with West Ham
Joe Willock is making a habit of scoring big late goals on loan at Newcastle (Picture: Getty)

Steve Bruce confirmed he would ‘love’ to keep hold of Joe Willock beyond the summer after the on-loan Arsenal midfielder came on to score the winner in Newcastle’s 3-2 victory over West Ham.

The visiting Hammers looked down and out as Joelinton doubled Newcastle’s advantage in the 41st minute following Issa Diop’s calamitous own goal and Craig Pawson’s sending off.

But a pair of second-half goals from Diop and Jesse Lingard set up a thrilling finish and Willock was sent on in place of Sean Longstaff with nine minutes remaining of Saturday’s breathless Premier League encounter at St James’ Park.

Willock’s late introduction worked wonders as he found a last-gasp equaliser in the Magpies’ 2-2 draw with Tottenham earlier this month and the substitution came up trumps once again this weekend.

Joe Willock scores Newcastle's winning goal against West Ham
The Arsenal loanee scored after replacing Longstaff at St James’ Park (Picture: Getty)

West Ham defender Ben Johnson was found wanting as Willock outjumped him and directed Matt Ritchie’s cross past Lukasz Fabianski with a powerful header from close range to seal all three points for the hosts.

Asked whether Newcastle are keen to extend Willock’s stay beyond the end of the season after the dramatic late goal, Bruce told reporters: ‘We would love to keep him here.

‘He is the type of player you’d love to build your club around. Whether we can or not I’m not quite sure.’

The Newcastle head coach added: ‘I was delighted with the response after the penalty.

‘Joe coming on and getting after them high up the pitch was vitally important.’

Steve Bruce and David Moyes look on during Newcastle's clash with West Ham
Newcastle’s victory lifted them to 15th in the Premier League table (Picture: Getty)

The result saw Newcastle move up to 15th in the table with a nine-point cushion between themselves and the relegation zone.

But Bruce remains adamant that his club’s current points tally may still not be enough to secure their survival in the top flight.

’35 points is not enough,’ he went on.

‘We still have six games to go, can we beat last year’s points tally of 44.’

Craig Dawson is sent off in West Ham's clash with Newcastle
West Ham defender Dawson was sent off towards the end of the first half (Picture: Getty)

West Ham remain in fourth place despite the loss and Moyes was satisfied with his side’s all-round performance minus a few costly individual errors.

‘It was costly mistakes that can happen in football,’ the Scot told BT Sport.

‘We weren’t playing badly – a couple of big mistakes gave Newcastle a leg up.

‘We showed great character in the second half, the sad part was the last 10 minutes.

‘Maybe when it went 2-2 they had no choice but to come out and do something else. At 2-2 I was hoping we would be able to see it out.

‘I thought we played well – we made individual mistakes, got a sending off. It wasn’t because we played badly.’

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