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Arsenal boss Unai Emery talks up Joe Willock improvement

:Headline: Arsenal boss Unai Emery talks up Joe Willock improvement:
The 20-year-old midfielder has scored six goals in 15 games under the Spaniard.
PA | 4mo

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has backed Joe Willock to fill the void left by Aaron Ramsey and believes the midfielder has limitless potential.

Willock, 20, has developed well under Emery's tutelage over the last year and has scored six goals in 15 games under the Spaniard – including the third in a 4-0 Europa League win over Standard Liege on Thursday.

The England Under-21 international has caught the attention of senior boss Gareth Southgate and replaced Mesut Ozil in last season's Europa League final defeat at the hands of Chelsea.

The Gunners lost Ramsey on a free transfer to Juventus this summer, 12 months after releasing Jack Wilshere to join West Ham.

Emery feels Willock, who has yet to establish himself in the first team, can now rise to the challenge of replacing the popular midfield pair at the Emirates Stadium.

"Willock started the pre-season with us last year, I didn't give him more minutes but he was with us in every game, working in training, playing matches in the cup and at the end of the season," the Gunners head coach said.

"He deserved to start this season with the first team and with us.

"My decision was after I saw him the last two months of last season working with us, his really big challenge was that Jack Wilshere left here, Aaron Ramsey left and he had to take that opportunity to be with us.

"The last months of last year was the moment I spoke with him, and said: 'For you it is a big challenge in the new season to do differently and really show us you can take their position in this squad'."

While Willock has had to be patient for a run in the Arsenal team, Emery has seen first-hand how much he has progressed in recent times – and feels he can push on even further if he keeps working hard.

"We need to have different options in different positions in midfield," he replied when asked if Willock was unfortunate not to have played more matches.

"But Willock is really, really improving a lot – sometimes by being in the starting XI or off the bench with good impact.

"I told him he is improving but he needs to not stop that improvement, we are working with him to improve even more.

"But, if his progression keeps going the way it is going right now, I don't know when he will stop and how far he can go.

"He deserves us continuing to give him chances and really now we can say he is with us, in the squad and the first XI because he deserves it.

"His progress is a very good example as a positive to many others."

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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool27261064174779
2Manchester CityMan City27183668293957
3Leicester CityLeicester27155754272750
4Chelsea2713594537844
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd27118841291241
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs2711794436840
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd27101072925440
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2791263832639
9Arsenal2781363936337
10Burnley27114123339-637
11Everton27106113641-536
12Southampton27104133448-1434
13Crystal Palace2789102432-833
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2787122441-1731
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton27610113239-728
16Bournemouth2775152643-1726
17Aston Villa2774163452-1825
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham2766153248-1624
19Watford2759132443-1924
20Norwich CityNorwich2746172451-2718
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool27261064174779
2Manchester CityMan City27183668293957
3Leicester CityLeicester27155754272750
4Chelsea2713594537844
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd27118841291241
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs2711794436840
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd27101072925440
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2791263832639
9Arsenal2781363936337
10Burnley27114123339-637
11Everton27106113641-536
12Southampton27104133448-1434
13Crystal Palace2789102432-833
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2787122441-1731
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton27610113239-728
16Bournemouth2775152643-1726
17Aston Villa2774163452-1825
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham2766153248-1624
19Watford2759132443-1924
20Norwich CityNorwich2746172451-2718
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