Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock has credited Freddie Ljungberg with helping him to make the step up to first team football.
Joe Willock (20), has been in the Arsenal academy since he was six years old. He began to feature for Arsenal last season in the Europa League and Carabao Cup.
This preseason, Joe Willock featured prominently. He has also started Arsenal’s two opening Premier League games against Newcastle and Burnley, earning plaudits for his performances.
A leggy, physical midfielder with composure and technical ability, Willock has the Arsenal fans salivating over his potential.
His coach Freddie Ljungberg, who also made the step up to the first team this year, will play a big role in helping him realize that potential.
“Freddie is not only such a legend at the club, he’s an unbelievable manager and coach,” Willock said.
“He’s a mentor for me, he showed me a lot behind the scenes that people don’t really know about.
“Every day I’m working with him and I’m learning from him. He has improved me a lot and I’m just trying to get better every day.
“Yes. It’s nice for him to follow me up to the first-team as well, it makes me feel more comfortable because obviously I worked with him last year. It’s a familiar face for me, it’s brilliant.
“To be honest, he’s improved my whole overall game.
“If I’m being specific, getting in the pockets when I’m playing No.10 and attacking at No.8. He showed me a lot of different tactics to get space and turn to attack other teams. Those are the main things really.”
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“I’m just trying to improve every day and give what I can to win the games,” he added.
“The squad we have this year is amazing and it can do big things. If I can add to that with what I can bring, it’s good and that’s all I’m looking for really.
“For me, my head was always about playing for the Arsenal first-team, that’s always been my dream as a young buy coming through the academy as a six-year-old.
“It was always to play for Arsenal so I wasn’t looking for anything else. When Unai showed confidence in me in pre-season it was inevitable in my head that I was going to stay.”