'Heartbreaking' - Newcastle United star reacts to being ruled out for three months

Newcastle United midfielder Joe Willock. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)Newcastle United midfielder Joe Willock. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Newcastle United midfielder Joe Willock. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images) | Arsenal FC via Getty Images
Joe Willock made his long awaited Newcastle United return against former club Arsenal.

Newcastle United midfielder Joe Willock has reflected on "one of the hardest times" in his career following a return after three months out with an Achilles injury.

The 24-year-old marked his comeback with a consolation goal in Saturday evening's 4-1 defeat at former club Arsenal. Willock scored 11 minutes after being introduced for Bruno Guimaraes when he headed home Dan Burn's cross.

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"It was a bittersweet feeling," said Willock. "It's been a long journey for me on the sidelines, it's been heartbreaking to be honest. Probably one of the hardest times of my career because I haven't been able to be with my teammates that I love so much.

Newcastle United midfielder Joe Willock. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)Newcastle United midfielder Joe Willock. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Newcastle United midfielder Joe Willock. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images) | Arsenal FC via Getty Images

"They've helped me a lot, there is a real brotherhood in the club. It means a lot to come back and be with them. I wanted to win today, unfortunately we didn't but I'm happy to be back. Hopefully I can stay fit."

The Magpies were already 4-0 down when Willock was brought on following Sven Botman's own goal and strikes from Kai Havertz, Buyako Saka and Jakub Kiwior.

United are without a win at the Emirates since 2010 but Willock's goal was their first the North London venue for almost 10 years.

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"I think it was a difficult game," Willock said. "They're a great side, there's no denying that, you can see where they are in the table but we have to stay positive.

"In the second-half there were good things to take from the game and we'll take that onto Tuesday, which is a big game for us. We have to put this game behind us.

"We just took what the manager said at half-time on board. Obviously they scored two more goals but overall, I feel like it was a better performance than the first-half.

"We have to take the positives out of this game, look at it tomorrow or Monday and try and improve on Tuesday."

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Newcastle head to Blackburn Rovers in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Tuesday night where Willock will hope to feature. Willock has been restricted to just seven matches this term after suffering from a hamstring and Achilles issue in the opening months.

"Thank you for your unwavering support, you really got behind us today," Willock said to the fans. "Sorry we couldn't give you the three points but we're going to do everything in our power to get the win on Tuesday.

"It's massive for us, there is no denying that. We want to go far in the competition and go back to Wembley like we did last year in the Carabao Cup. We're looking forward to Tuesday and try and make this season a positive one.

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