Arsenal have confirmed home-grown midfielder Joe Willock has signed a new long-term contract with the club following the 20-year-old's progression into the first-team squad.
Willock, who was first spotted by the Gunners at the age of just four, made his senior debut under Arsene Wenger back in September 2017. But the England junior international has made the permanent step up under Unai Emery since the end of last season.
Willock has started three of Arsenal’s four Premier League games so far in 2019/20 and has now played as many as 20 first team games in all competitions for his boyhood club.
“Joe has progressed a lot in the last year,” Emery told Arsenal.com.
“He is technically strong and has shown the confidence to take responsibility and play his game whatever the occasion or opposition. I’m looking forward to working with to help him develop further and fulfil his potential.”
Gunners technical director Edu commented: “We’re delighted that Joe has committed his long-term future to us. The hard work of the academy coaches and staff, Joe, his family and everyone behind the scenes have been key to the development of his potential.
“Bringing young players through to the first team from the academy is an important part of our approach and Joe’s progression is a good example for how we want to work in the future. Joe has shown hard work and determination to get this far.
"He’s continuing to develop and we look forward to him making a big contribution to the club.”
Having been on the bench for the north London derby at the end of August, Willock will be hoping to return to the starting lineup when the Gunners face Watford as Premier League football resumes this weekend. Arsenal make the short trip to Vicarage Road on Sunday.