Joe Willock had a stellar debut against Southampton by adding dramatically to our attack and scoring the first goal in a accomplished fashion.
In fact, after scoring on the 16th minute, the 21-year-old scored the quickest goal by a Newcastle debutant in the Premier League. Definitely not a bad stat to start yourself off with at a new club!
Already, Willock has started in a fashion that could hopefully result in performances closer to past loanees like Remy, Merino and Willems rather than the likes of Nabil Bentaleb or Antonio Barreca (remember him?).
Some of the important things to note with Willock, that could spell continued good results from him, is that he is someone who has engaged with the fans, done his research on us as a team and offers something completely different to what we already have.
The Arsenal-loanee came in with all the confidence needed and had the conversation with Saint-Maximin prior to his goal, saying “I told Maxi (Saint-Maximin), ‘when you get past the full-back, cut it back to the edge of the box & I’ll be there’. That’s exactly what he did, I was there to finish it, I was delighted and I can’t wait to get more.”
There are shades of Callum Wilson’s attitude in the young man’s words there which can only be a good thing. Part of Wilson’s success this season has been down to his self-belief and knowledge of his teammates’ strengths so if we have another player who is of the same mindset then that can only be a good thing.
Having players who know how they want to play and where they want the ball, is something that every football club could do with. Saint-Maximin and Wilson have proved in their play and rhetoric before that they have firm ideas about how they want to play and what they want to do, and because of that, they have emerged as two of standout star players. If Willock can have half the impact that Wilson or Saint-Maximin have had, then we have made a really good acquisition.
Hopefully now, for this season at least, we have someone who can fill in Wijnadum’s role, which has been left empty since the Dutchman’s exit to Liverpool in 2016. I certainly wouldn’t be complaining if he mimics his scoring record while at Newcastle!