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Joe Willock’s refusal to be forgotten has to amount to something

Arsenal had some familiar players on target against Charlton, and yet again Joe Willock counts himself amidst them. He continues to refuse to be forgotten.

It’s easy to get lost in the hype of all of Arsenal‘s young phenoms. They’ve got them scattered about the pitch on any given day. Between Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, there’s enough hype to fill the stadium, but it’s just lazy to stop with the excitement there.

Matteo Guendouzi remains arguably the most monetarily valuable player at the club as he continues to grow and Reiss Nelson may be the longest-tenured hype machine. Then, of course, there’s Eddie Nketiah who can’t stop scoring. He knocked in a hat trick against Charlton Athletic in the friendly.

But then there’s Joe Willock. Once the belle of the ball, now just another name in the crowd. Yet despite not yet maturing into a bonafide product, Willock’s refusal to be forgotten has risen to the top time and time again.

Joe Willock has used his time at Arsenal well, and it’s paying off

He did it again against Charlton. While Nketiah and Aubameyang and Lacazette scored five of the six goals, Willock snuck in there with the sixth and yet again reminded everyone that he is one hell of a player who is closer than he seems.

Willock has accounted for four goals this year, two in the Europa League and two in the league cup.

He hasn’t been one of the premier features for the Gunners this year, despite being one of the top prospects no more than a year ago. That’s simply because the trifecta of Saka, Martinelli, and Nketiah have taken the spotlight and ruthlessly hogged it.

But Willock’s time may be coming if, for no other reason, because he faces a similar opportunity like what Saka faced at the start of this year. The opportunity was there, and the young man took it.

For Willock, he’s looking for more midfield opportunities. That hasn’t been easy to come by this year. The midfield is crowded. But with numerous players expected to depart, the chance for Willock to ascend to something much bigger and perhaps more consistent may be just around the corner.

Next: 3 Improvements Willock Must Make

So while he hasn’t exactly thrived, or grabbed every opportunity by the scruff, what he has done is maintained his presence on our collective consciousness to the point that he is always right there on the cusp, ready to fit in when he can. There’s a benefit to that, and for Willock, that benefit should pay dividends soon.

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