Journalist Chris Waugh has claimed that Eddie Howe and his coaching staff have been working specifically with Newcastle United ace Joe Willock behind the scenes.
Before last night’s shootout victory, Willock had started all but two games this season and finally managed to get his first goal of the campaign last weekend, which, for Newcastle’s sake, will hopefully see him go on another run of form akin to when he was on loan with the Magpies.
The midfielder was the last signing Steve Bruce made as manager for £25m and has gone on to become a regular under Eddie Howe in the league, having started all but two games thus far.
Waugh has now revealed on Pod on the Tyne that Howe and his staff have been working hard with Willock to improve his overall game rather than focusing on him scoring goals.
Speaking prior to their EFL Cup victory, he said: “I’ve been really impressed with Joe Willock this season. I thought there were times, certainly in the first half of last season, where he sort of had lost his way a little bit – I think that when he wasn’t scoring goals, he wasn’t necessarily contributing that much.
Should Willock start vs Chelsea?
“But I know that behind the scenes, he’s another player, like all of them, who Eddie Howe and his coaching staff have worked diligently with, and he’s added so much more to it,
“I think he’s everywhere now, I think he contributes in every area of the pitch. He makes so many overlapping and underlapping runs into the box. He links really well whether he’s playing on the left or on the right, and I was really pleased that he finally got that goal. He’s had some chances this season which he hasn’t quite taken or which Callum Wilson has nicked from him.”
TIF Thoughts on Willock’s form…
With the Magpies stuttering into the next round of the Carabao Cup without Willock starting the game, it could suggest he has very little to worry about in terms of losing his place for Saturday’s league game against Chelsea.
Willock’s stats back up what Waugh is saying about the midfielder being everywhere, as he’s created the same amount of shot-creating actions as Bruno Guimaraes, has completed the second-most crosses into the box and also won the second-most tackles at the club, showing he’s certainly getting about the pitch.
The midfielder clearly has a great bond with Howe – someone he’s only worked alongside for less than 12 months – as only in February did he say that the manager was not just a great boss, but a ‘fantastic person‘.