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Paul Merson: 'Joe Willock should be starting for Arsenal'

Paul Merson: 'Joe Willock should be starting for Arsenal'
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Arsenal legend Paul Merson claims that midfielder Joe Willock should return to Arsenal from his loan spell with Newcastle United, and start in Mikel Arteta's 11.

Arsenal legend Paul Merson has claimed that youngster Joe Willock should be starting for Mikel Arteta's side, following his loan spell with Newcastle United.

The 21-year-old scored eight goals in 14 Premier League appearances for Steve Bruce's side, after arriving at St James' Park in January on loan from the Gunners.

Willock became a fan favourite with the Toon Army after matching Alan Shearer's record of scoring in seven consecutive matches for Newcastle.

The Magpies would welcome a permanent move for Willock but Paul Merson believes that the midfielder has the capability to return to the Emirates and be a part of Arteta's starting 11.

"Three weeks ago maybe, you're looking and thinking, what's he gone there for, he's sub for Newcastle now, and now he's just beat the record [by becoming the youngest player to score in six consecutive games]," Merson told Sky Sports News.

"If he comes back now, he's got to be in the team. No disrespect to Newcastle, but Newcastle are not above Arsenal and we've got to be honest with that.

"I would come back and have a go. I would 100% come back and say, you know what, I want to give it a go at Arsenal, and if he isn't in the team in six months, your agent goes in, or he goes in and goes 'you know what, I'm never gonna make it at Arsenal'."

The England Under-21 international has come through the youth system at Arsenal and made his first-team debut in 2017.

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Newcastle United's Joseph Willock celebrates scoring against Sheffield United in the Premier League on May 19, 2021
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