Is Joe Willock set to be Arsenal’s heir to Aaron Ramsey in the future?

Since his debut under Arsene Wenger, Joe Willock has proven to be a squad preference for three different managers — much to the dismay of a certain segment of Arsenal fans.

These supporters do not see what is so special about the last of the Willock brothers. At best, in their opinion, Joe Willock is no more than an energy injection, a running and pressing monster that is unable to influence a game with the ball at his feet.

So why do the gaffers love Good Ol’ Joe? Here are the reasons:

Training/Work Ethic
Joe Willock has no issues with working his socks off on the field. And that translates to the training ground, where no complaint has ever been raised about his commitment. In some quarters, the opinion is that Joe Willock is one of these players who always do well in training but lack the capacity to translate it into games. That actually leads us to the next good thing about Joe Willock.

Box-to-Box Dynamism
To be able to pick the ball from the edge of your penalty box and drive forward with it into the opponent’s half of the field while shrugging off challenges is a very special trait to have in a player, especially a midfielder. This was part of Aaron Ramsey’s skillset and Joe Willock is arguably better at it already.

Since his days in academy football, the 21-year-old has shown off his propensity to receive the ball and single-handedly break through defensive lines by running straight through them. With his deceptively lanky build and upper body strength, the Hale End graduate has shown flashes of the same ability in senior football.

One of Willock’s biggest selling point is how he invariably almost always gets into the goal-scoring end of things. He has that whiff of a goal about him when he pops around the penalty box.

An hardworking dynamic midfielder who can carry a ball solo, plays a direct style of football and shows up for a goal every other time? Joe Willock can very well claim to be, by virtue of his inherent qualities, Aaron Ramsey’s British heir.

But Aaron Ramsey was of course far more technical and far more tactically polished. If Willock’s passing could be improved, his tactical sense developed and refined, Arsenal will have another special player on their hands.

That is precisely why the gaffers love Willock: he has such unique traits and every coach want to be the one to unlock all that greatness. Mikel Arteta’s words when asked if Willock would fit playing as Number 10 are pretty much clear: “I think so. I think he’s perfect to play in that role. I think he’s got incredible physical attributes but as well he’s a very intelligent boy,” he said ahead of the second leg of the Europa League against Olympiacos.

“He learns really quickly, he’s very willing, I think he’s developing really really well and I’m very pleased with him.”

That sounds like Arteta has big plans for Willock in the future…

Agboola Israel


  1. Sell him off and keep AMN… Yet to see him drop a superb performance. We don’t need him. Even Juve don’t need the same Ramsey. I’d sell him for 5 million if the offer comes in.

    Also Willian should be announced today….. 90% sure

    1. Good idea Eddie but we wouldn’t get near as the same money as for AMN well I’m kind of guessing!

    2. Eddie
      Jw not sure about him but he has goals in him.. check out his goal against Liverpool.. a real cracker
      He does a job for us when he comes on. Keeps to the plan
      Love amn and is so versatile for us but lacks concentration and lacks hunger on some occasions
      Games pass him by on some occasions. He has all the attributes but there is something missing
      Comparing jw to AR is big call right now as AR has far more experience and games under his belt compared to JW

    1. I like Willock but he has a fair bit to go before he becomes the finished article.While he has bags of energy and athleticism , he lacks intelligence and composure in the final third and his decision making has to improve.I can recall at least two very clear cut chances he missed last season when through on the goalkeeper , chances that Ramsay would have put away.I hate to draw comparisons with Iwobi who simply could not finish , but to me Willock has similar strengths and weaknesses.

      1. Granddad, iwobi was more intelligent on the ball, his passes were great too, he just lacked finishing. Willock just runs up and down the field, sometimes it pays off, most times it doesn’t. Not convinced by him at all. He plays well in preseason but when the real pressure of real games pile on, he fails to deliver.

      2. Grandad Tme he is only 21 in two years or less we could have another Gnaby on our hands and had we sold him we would be asking the same old questions WHY?

    2. Hi Sue!are you disappointed with the latest news that Ceballos will not be coming back to us next season?

      1. Hey there, Siamois! Yes I am disappointed with that news.. I was looking forward to another season with him…

    3. I second a loan deal. the boy has a lot of potential. its unfortunately he did not get much nurturing from Wenger as the likes of Wilshire, Iwobi, Walcott, Fabregas, Nasri. He was going to excel by now at 21

  2. I like Joe, hopefully he’ll live up to the potential.
    Any chance we could get the real Ramsey back?
    Biggest mistake of the Emery & Co debacle was to let him leave.

  3. Decent squad player, homegrown, didn’t cost anything. Why should we sell him? He’s not a starter material, yet, so let him stay for rotation.

    Midfield of:

    —– Partey
    Willian/Coutinho – Ceballos

    Would be fantastic IMO. We are very slim at the moment in the middle. I don’t trust Xhaka, he doesn’t offer much. We can’t sell him now though because we have so many others that we need to get rid off first.

    1. I think Xhaka may still be critically needed in case Partey or whosover comes in may need time to adapt to the EPL and the MA style of play.

      Heard Partey wants 200k wages, a bit too much in my opinion especially if he is not a proven person in the EPL

    2. Apparently Ceballos will not be at Arsenal next season. And regarding Xhaka, I think you need not go farther than the villa game to see what he offers in the new setup. He is playing to his strengths and running the left side of the Midfield. Without him we are not much effective.

  4. I think Willock could be a viable B2B option in 1-2 years time. A loan would be helpful. It will also free up a spot in Midfield for AMN, who I think witn his particular set of skills can become a good defensive midfielder. I just hope we won’t be tempted to sell him and if we have to, not for peanuts without any clause in his contract.

  5. Good comparison. Often in a midfield with far more technical ability, Ramsey carved out his role well which is what Willock needs to try and do.

    The problem Willock has is that if you take away a couple of lovely looking goals, what has his contribution been? It’s not like he makes things tick in a nuanced way, so to be a key player he really needs to add more end product to his game.

  6. Ramsey showed immense potential and already had more to his game at 18 than Willock now (willock is what 20 now?). But we understand that different players develop at different paces. Willock though isn’t ready to feature consistently for Arsenal yet, I think a loan to a premier league club would do him good. In future you never know he might reach ramsey’s Level and even surpass him but at the moment he’s not there yet

  7. Willock in my eyes is not a better player than Elneny .
    even in the academy he wasn’t the best midfielder .
    He is too small at 21 years of age . How old was Fabregas when he decided to break into the first team .
    Can anyone compare Willock to a Tonali or even a Bellingham . In my eyes he is just another English hopeful who may disappoint us .
    I have not seen a midfielder who doesn’t know how to pass .cant take set pieces ,cant dribble .
    Even in our present setup he is last on the pecking other when our midfielders are lined up.
    Now a player like Emile Smith Rowe that i can be hopeful on .

  8. Willock benefits among Gooners from being a local lad, that his brothe played here and that he seems an honest ,hardworking and unassuming lad. A great son inlaw for your daughter to marry, I’d say(as anolder fan). But for a top side with REAL ambition, all he has shown is occasional glimpses. Not much to base any real hope upon. COULD WELL HAVE A HALF DECENT CAREER, somewhere else. But for MA’s expected standard at Arsenal? No way! No apologies from me for always being a realist!

      1. Pat would be top players are usually far more advanced at Willocks age of 21, which is NOT a kid BTW. Also it depends what you mean by “his potential”. He has barely featured under MA. You clearly do not agree with my contention that MA is far more ambitious than WENGER and indeed Joe would have been kept around by far too comfy Wenger. I just see MA BEING FAR MORE DEMANDING OF PLAYERS, THANKFULLY, and thus I suspect Willock may well be moved on this time. Available funds will be the deciding factor, one way or another. He will have a career but I just do not see it being under MA.

  9. Willock has his strength and weaknesses just like every other young player, but the potential is there and a season long loan move with regular playing time might just be the key to unlock those potentials.

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