web analytics

Joe Willock a story worth shouting for

Joe Willock’s career progression has stalled this season. However, the Arsenal academy graduate has a story worth shouting for as he looks to make it at the club he would love to captain.

It is easy to forget that footballers are humans, too. They serve our most basic, primal, visceral human desires as 22 men kicking a football about. And they have to deal with the abuse, the criticism, the onslaught of questioning and bullying that inevitably comes their way when we do not get what we want.

Amid the fanfare and fanaticism of football, we must always remember that these players not robots, but men, people, hearts and souls, lives with stories, histories, personalities.

Now, this does not mean that analysis and reporting and questioning and even criticism are not valid. They absolutely are. But they should be done in a respectful manner that treats footballers like humans, not a test score to be judged against others.

More from Pain in the Arsenal

Joe Willock has not endured the greatest season in the Arsenal first team. His performances have been inconsistent and his confidence has slumped. Mikel Arteta has rarely used him, turning to other academy graduates ahead of him, and there is a growing belief that he does not have the required ability to become a regular senior starter at the Emirates.

And all of that may be true, and in fact, it is an opinion that I hold, too, but his story is one worth cheering for, nonetheless.

Willock grew up in Walthamstow in Northeast London. His family was not especially wealthy — at one stage his dad sold his shop involved in the fashion trade to fund Joe and his brothers’ football. The Willocks had four children, three brothers, of which Joe is the youngest, and a sister.

Writing on Arsenal.com, Willock said:

“From a young age, everything in my life was dedicated to football. In our house, it’s all we knew. We didn’t have a lot of money and we lived in a very small household, but the three of us loved playing football.”

He then continued:

“Me and my brothers are so, so close. Like I said, we grew up in a house in Walthamstow, a place called Priory Court. It wasn’t a very big house, so me and my brothers would sleep in the same bed. We had two beds and we used to put them together so that we could all sleep in the same one.”

Want your voice heard? Join the Pain In The Arsenal team!

Write for us!

Willock is now the only brother left at the club. Chris was highly touted but exited for Benfica before breaking into the first team, whilst his oldest brother, Matty, is currently playing Gillingham. But Joe is keen to forge his way at Arsenal and to show that young children from poorer backgrounds like his have something to dream for.

“Success for me is making people happy when they watch me. If I’ve inspired people coming from bad areas or estates like I have, and I’ve inspired them to live out their dreams as well, that would make me really happy.”

While an increasing amount of criticism has come his way in recent times, his gangly, sometimes awkward style drawing comparisons against the more technically sound and fluent Bukayo Saka and Reiss Nelson, both of whom are younger than Joe, it should be remembered that this is a 20-year-old kid trying to make good on his Dad’s work in his childhood. He wants to be an inspiration to those looking up to him. He wants to captain Arsenal, play for Arsenal, show that people can escape poverty and crime despite the area they come from.

Next: Arsenal: 3 reasons to sell Alexandre Lacazette

Willock’s story is worth championing, celebrating, praising and cheering for, no matter his performances. As fans, it is important to remember as much.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *