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Arsenal young guns determined to make Arteta's team selections 'difficult' - Willock

12:00 BST 24/09/2020
Joe Willock Arsenal 2020-21
The Gunners midfielder was one of five academy products who started Wednesday night's Carabao Cup win at Leicester City

Joe Willock says Arsenal’s youngsters will never stop snapping at the heels of the club’s senior stars as they look to make it difficult for Mikel Arteta to pick a starting XI.

The 21-year-old midfielder was one of five academy products that started Wednesday night’s 2-0 success against Leicester City in the Carabao Cup, joining Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Bukayo Saka and Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the side.

And the Arsenal young guns played a starring role in the victory, which was secured thanks to a Christian Fuchs own goal and a late strike from Nketiah - who added to the winner he scored against West Ham at the weekend.

It was another night which highlighted the quality of the young talent Arteta has it his disposal and Willock says he and his fellow academy graduates will continue to do all they can to get more game time in the Premier League.

“That is our job as players, as youngsters,” he said. “We're always trying to make it difficult for the manager to make a decision on who plays on the weekend.

“That is what we're trying to do, we're all trying to push each other to be better and to play as good as we can.

“My personal goals are to get into the team and play regularly. I love playing for Arsenal and that is where I want to be.

“So every time I get a chance I need to make the manager have questions about whether to put me in again and that's what I tried to do [against Leicester].”

Willock ended last season as an FA Cup winner and also got his hands on the Community Shield a few weeks later when champions Liverpool were defeated at Wembley.

Victory at Leicester on Wednesday means Arsenal will now face Liverpool again in the Carabao Cup fourth round, providing Jurgen Klopp’s side get past Lincoln City.

Arsenal were beaten at Anfield in the Carabao Cup last season when they went down on penalties following a 5-5 thriller on Merseyside.

“I remember that game,” recalled Willock, who scored a sensational goal that night. “It was a high-scoring one. Hopefully we can go there and get a win.

“As players for Arsenal football club we always want to win games, that is what we need to do and to get back to a level where Arsenal should be we have to win these sorts of games.”

Arteta’s side have now won six games in a row in all competitions stretching back to the end of last season.

The Spaniard spoke about how his side were evolving following Wednesday night’s victory at the King Power Stadium, but insisted there was still room for improvement.

“We want to evolve more, play better and compete better,” said Arsenal’s manager.

That’s the type of attitude Willock has come to expect from Arteta and the midfielder says he and his team-mates all know exactly what is demanded of them.

“The manager has very key principles - things that we have to do,” he said. 

“There is nothing we can't ask, we can always ask him to help us. That is what I did before the [Leicester] game - slotting into midfield I asked him a few pointers and I thought I did well.”