Arsenal manager Unai Emery has insisted that academy graduate Joe Willock that he has the potential to fill the shoes of former midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere at Emirates Stadium.
The 20-year-old has already made nine appearances across all competitions this season, scoring in each of their Europa League games as well as Arsenal's comfortable win over Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup.
It's become increasingly difficult for Emery to justify not playing Willock this season, and Arsenal's manager insists that the England Under-21 international can become a mainstay in north London if he keeps improving.
"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,” Emery said, quoted by The Evening Standard.
"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’.
"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."
Willock has already been rewarded for his performances at Arsenal after being offered a new long-term contract, with the midfielder among a handful of academy graduates who are making an impact on Emery's first-team.