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Arsenal’s Joe Willock explains why he was ‘apprehensive’ about Unai Emery


Arsenal youngster Joe Willock says he was ‘apprehensive’ when Unai Emery replaced Arsene Wenger at the Emirates last year because it was “unknown waters”.

The 20-year-old only made six appearances in Emery’s debut season at the club, but he has almost registered double that amount just two months into his second.

Willock has become a key member of the Gunners squad this term; featuring seven times in the Premier League, starting on three occasions, while getting the nod and scoring in each of their two Europa League outings.

The midfielder also found the back of the net in a 5-0 Carabao Cup victory at home Nottingham Forest.

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Willock has become a key player under Unai Emery this season, scoring three goals in 10 games

But Willock has revealed that he was anxious when Emery first arrived at the club, admitting he was initially too eager to impress the Spaniard.

“I always work hard in pre-season and try to push myself to the limits. When I get back, I’m ready to compete with everyone,” he told The Sun.

“But this pre-season was about my mental state. I had to work on myself and think about strategies.

“When the new manager came in, I wouldn’t say I was fearful but I was a bit apprehensive because it was unknown waters.

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But the youngster says he was “apprehensive” when Emery joined because it was “unknown waters”

“I wanted to impress him so much. It didn’t really go that well in his first pre-season. I just wanted to impress him and I was a bit anxious to do it. Not many things went well for me.

“I wanted to think about how I was going to impress him and how I was going to push on to the next level. That’s what I did.

“I took time to think about it, worked hard, got my head down and when I got back, it worked.”

Willock is starting again for Arsenal in their Premier League clash with Sheffield United tonight.

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The Gunners can leapfrog Chelsea and Leicester back into third place with a win, which would be their first on the road since their opening-day triumph at Newcastle.

Emery has dropped Dani Ceballos in order to start Willock at Bramall Lane, while Alexandre Lacazette is back on the bench after returning from an ankle injury.

Arsenal team vs Sheffield United (4-2-3-1): Leno; Chambers, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac; Guendouzi, Xhaka; Pepe Willock, Saka; Aubameyang



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