Willock catches Arsenal eye

England U16s winger Chris Willock could be the next player to make the step up at Arsenal, according to Gunners boss Arsene Wenger.

Willock featured for 45 minutes in Arsenal’s pre-season match with Boreham Wood at the weekend and impressed in a 2-0 win.

And Wenger was pleased to see the 16-year-old Londoner catch the eye in following on from Jack Wilshere and Cesc Fabregas in being given a chance to perform with the club’s senior players.

Arsene Wenger opens the new stand at Boreham Wood

Arsene Wenger opened the new stand at Boreham Wood on Saturday

“He’s a very young boy and I wanted him to have a run out with the big boys to see how much he has to do,” said Wenger, who also officially opened a new stand at Meadow Park before the game.

“But technically and tactically he integrated very well. Of course it’s natural that he lacks a bit of power at that age but when he gets that he will be a very interesting player.”

Willock was a regular with Kenny Swain’s Young Lions last season, making his debut against Scotland in the Victory Shield before picking up a further five caps.

He was a surprise selection in the Arsenal team, which included the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Wojicech Szczesny, Tomas Rosicky, Kieran Gibbs and Matthieu Flamini.

Goals from Kris Olsson and England Under-21s hopeful Benik Afobe secured victory at the venue which also acts as home for Arsenal Ladies and the club’s academy.

“It was a good opportunity to give everyone 45 minutes,” added Wenger. 

“We lacked a bit of incisiveness in our runs and passes which is normal because we are not ready and it was very hot.

“It is more to see who can integrate into the first team from the youth team – who is the closest to the first team. 

“For the first-team players who are used to playing in the Premier League, it was to see how fit they are and how much more work they need.”