Joe Willock: Newcastle loanee from Arsenal lays 'foundation to build on' after debut goal

Joe Willock believes he has “laid a foundation to build on” by scoring on his Newcastle debut following his loan from Arsenal for the rest of the season.

The midfielder got the opener in the 3-2 win against Southampton on Saturday after completing his switch to the north east on Deadline Day.

Willock signed a new long-term contract at Arsenal – a club he has been associated with since he was four years old – in September 2019.

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But the 21-year-old has made only 16 appearances under Mikel Arteta this season and he is delighted with the start he has made at St James’ Park.

“It was like a weight lifted off my shoulders when the (final) whistle went,” Willock told Sky Sports News.


“I wanted to make a good start, I wanted to score, I wanted to get the three points and when the whistle went, I knew I’d done that.

“It’s a starting point for me to push on, I wanted to set a good foundation and I was so happy when he blew the whistle and I’ve set that foundation. Now I want to push on and hopefully build on it.

“When I scored, it was a brilliant feeling. I wish the fans were there for me to do a knee slide and run in front of the crowd but I couldn’t do it so I celebrated with the team.

“I’m here to help the team in any which way they want me to. When I came in, I wanted to help the team have that bit of pace in midfield, travel from one box to the other quicker and get it to the front men quicker, and arrive in the box and score goals like I did, so I feel I can add that to the team and hopefully it continues.

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“He (Steve Bruce) said to me, ‘I know that’s your quality, I know that’s what you love to do, I give you the freedom to go, and don’t worry, there are players behind you that can back you up.'”

Willock, who has represented England at U16, U19, U20 and U21 levels, now has the rest of the season to prove himself at Newcastle and he is in no doubt that his loan move was the right decision.

“When I decided to come here I had a sense of peace, I didn’t ever feel like it was going to be the wrong one (decision). When I came here, everyone was so welcoming,” he added.

“My first day everyone was speaking to me, I was speaking to the manager, that was when I knew it was the right decision and to score on my debut and to get three points is an even bigger plus.

“I’m trying to focus on what I have to do now, focus on Newcastle United. I’m not really looking at Arsenal at the moment.

“I’m here to prove to Newcastle United that I can play every week and affect the games and win games for them. I’m not really looking at Arsenal, when that time comes for me to make a decision to go back or not that will come but right now, I’m focused on Newcastle and I’m loving every minute that I’m here.”

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