‘Sad’ Newcastle United star wishes he could play v Chelsea after being ruled out
Joe Willock is one of eight Newcastle United players ruled out of the Chelsea game.
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Having starred for the Magpies this campaign, Willock’s season was cruelly cut short with two games to go after he limped off with a nasty-looking hamstring injury during the 4-1 win against Brighton and Hove Albion.
The former Arsenal midfielder watched from the stands as United secured Champions League qualification after a goalless draw at home to Leicester City on Monday night but joined in the post-match celebrations.
Willock isn’t fit enough to play a part at Stamford Bridge today, much to the 23-year-old’s disappointment. Acknowledging the winning goal he scored against Chelsea at St James’ Park in November, Willock posted on Instagram “wish I could be there with the lads tomorrow [sad emoji]”.
Prior to his injury, Willock had been pushing for a senior England call up having already represented his country from under-16s to under-21s level.
Magpies head coach Eddie Howe tipped Willock to achieve that milestone.
“I definitely think that should be an aim of his,” said Howe, speaking in March. “I think he has the potential to do it.”
“I’d say for Joe, he has areas to improve - as all the players do within the squad - but it’s there for him. He’s young enough, I think he’s got potential to grow. I think again, since my time here he’s been excellent.
“I do think his game’s improved. I think he’s got more to go, I think he can score more goals, he can assist more - especially the position he’s playing in, he’s had those moments and chances.
“He can get around the pitch brilliantly. He’s dovetailed into a wide area as well at times for us - he’s had that natural rotation into those areas and he’s done really well. There’s that versatility to his game, he’s not a one-dimensional player and I really like that about him.”
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