The Telegraph’s Luke Edwards has revealed just why Steve Bruce boss was so keen to sign Joe Willock.
According to the North-East reporter believed to be ‘friends’ with the NUFC boss, Bruce values the Arsenal talent’s speed, both ‘with and without the ball’ and his ability to offer a much needed ‘goal threat’ from midfield.
Edwards also insists that the manager’s top priority over the January transfer window was to add ‘pace and power’ to the team’s engine room – and it seems Bruce believes he has exactly that in the England U-21.
Here’s a snippet from his deadline day piece for The Telegraph:
‘Bruce feels the youngster’s speed, with and without the ball, and goal threat from midfield will add something different to his midfield options.
‘His main priority was to add more pace and power to the team in that area of the pitch.‘
One thing we sorely lack is a midfielder capable of picking up the ball on the half turn and bursting into space, with the likes of Shelvey, Hendrick and Sean Longstaff lacking mobility and pace.
Where Willock will fit into our potential new system remains to be seen, however I would not be surprised to see him play in the role Hendrick took up last weekend – providing we stick with the formation that worked so well at Everton, that is!
It is worth noting that tonight’s clash with Crystal Palace will come too soon for our new recruit, with it also understood that there is NO option to buy in his loan move from North London. That said, there has been talk of him extending his loan spell for another 12 months IF he settles on Tyneside and impresses in the side.
Here’s a reminder of what Bruce had to say about Willock’s deadline day arrival:
“I’m delighted to bring Joe to Newcastle until the end of the season.
“He is a very exciting and talented young player who can get up and down the pitch and can score a goal from midfield.
“He has made a very decent impact at Arsenal after coming through the ranks and to make nearly 80 appearances for the club by the age of 21 says much about his development, ability and character.
“He is very keen to come here and test himself and he’ll be a great addition to the squad.”