Steve Howey has tipped Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock to stake a claim for a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
The 21 year-old enjoyed a thoroughly impressive run of form whilst on loan with Newcastle last term, setting the record for youngest player to score in six consecutive Premier League matches, before also becoming the youngest to score in seven by scoring in the following match also, a run which is yet to come to an end.
Willock is now being tipped to target a place in the England squad, with Howey that he ‘absolutely’ has every chance if he can re-find his form from the previous term.
“Gareth is loyal to his players but he’s also a believer of picking players on current form,” Howey told ThisIsFutbol.
“If he is banging the goals in like he did at Newcastle, then he has every chance of being in the squad, absolutely.
“If he is playing better than the other lads in the England squad, you want the national team to do well and you play the players who are playing really well.”
Of course we hope that Willock will be as good this season as he was in the last, but if he is to stay and fight for a first-team role at Arsenal this term, his biggest challenge will be earn a regular starting role in our side, one which will not come easy with Thomas Partey, Mo Elneny, Sambi Lokonga and either Granit Xhaka or a replacement also expected to be challenging.
In hindsight, another loan in Newcastle could potentially be the best for all concerned, although if Arteta was willing to allow Willock to be the Swiss midfielder’s replacement, he could well be set to get a major chance to stake that claim.
Whether he can convince Southgate that he is deserving of his first England cap is another thing altogether however, and you could argue that Emile Smith Rowe could well be ahead of him in the pecking order for a shot, although they do not play in the exact same role.