Fri 23 Feb 2024, 11:59 · Ash Harrison

'We've seen him mature': Eddie Howe says Joe Willock has come through a lot this season

'We've seen him mature': Eddie Howe says Joe Willock has come through a lot this season
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It hasn't been a season to remember for Newcastle United's Joe Willock with injuries playing a huge part in his campaign.

Joe Willock has managed just 301 minutes of football this season after the 24-year-old ended last season with a bad hamstring injury which kept him out of Newcastle's pre-season campaign, then just as he was starting to hit the road to recovery he started having problems with his achilles.

Willock made a return to action in October which saw him appear in six games in all competitions before the achilles issue reared its ugly head again and he's not been seen on the pitch since. However, it now looks like he's ready to return to the fold and could possibly play a part against his former club on Saturday night.

Willock's drive and determination has been missed this season

Newcastle signed Joe Willock from Arsenal for £25million after an insanely impressive loan spell which saw him go on a goal-scoring run that made Alan Shearer jealous.

The Magpies have really missed Willock this season. His determination to push forward and create goalscoring opportunities has been sorely missed.

With the physical recovery all but complete, Eddie Howe now says Willock's mental journey has been a tough one too, but he feels he's come out of it very well (via The Chronicle).

Could Willock force his way into Gareth Southgate's plans?

"You go through lots of emotions with the players. He's been battling so hard to come back and he's had setbacks along the way. He just wants to play and be able to express himself. He's had a limitation placed on him because of his body.

"He's handled it well and we've seen him mature the last few months. As long as he comes back in full health, we'll see a better Joe Willock for that experience."

If Willock comes back better then our opposition needs to be fearful because that lad was already on his way to being a huge star. It would be amazing to see Willock staying fit for the duration of the season, putting in top-class performances week in and week out and giving Gareth Southgate something to think about heading into the Euros this summer.