Rio Ferdinand has been impressed with Joe Willock who is currently on loan at Newcastle and suggests Arsenal should have kept hold of the player for the second half of the campaign.
Willock, 21, has shown glimpses of his quality since breaking into first-team at the Emirates in 2017 but actively pushed for a temporary move out of Arsenal to boost his minutes in the Premier League.
Newcastle were alerted to a potential deal, landing Willock towards the end of January, and he has hit the ground running with some important late goals to help keep the club away from the relegation zone.
Willock’s late equaliser at Liverpool was his third goal in as many games after coming off the bench and Bruce has already confirmed he wants to keep hold of him beyond the summer when his loan contract expires.
Reflecting on the midfielder’s eye-catching loan spell at Newcastle, Ferdinand told his Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE YouTube channel: ‘You know what, I like Joe Willock.
‘He’s someone at Arsenal that I would have kept. He’s a good young player. ‘If Arsenal don’t take him back and have him around that squad… I don’t know, man.
‘I really like him and I like his personality. He’s not shy to come on the big stage and play and perform. ‘And the last three goals he’s scored have been massive goals for Newcastle. It shows he’s got the temperament.’
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Arsenal are currently in 10th place in the Premier League table in Willock’s absence and winning the Europa League is their only chance of securing Champions League football next season.
But they head into Thursday’s semi-final first leg with Villarreal struggling for confidence after picking up only one point from their last two league games at home to Fulham and Everton.
Ferdinand also backed Villarreal – managed by Unai Emery – to eliminate the gunners before being beaten in the final by Manchester United, who will play Roma in the other semi-final. ‘I think Arsenal go out, man,’ he added.