Newcastle star admits ‘annoying’ concern and suggests turning to Alan Shearer for advice

Joe Willock admits his lack of goals this season has been ‘annoying’ and believes a better conversion rate would rank the Newcastle United midfielder among the best Europe. The former Arsenal loanee enjoyed a prolific loan spell in black-and-white, but has netted just five times in 70 appearances since making the move permanent in the summer of 2021.

Willock initially struggled to adjust to life on Tyneside following his £25 million transfer, and has since opened up on the homesickness which plagued his early months at the club. However, the 23-year-old has emerged as a key player in the Magpies’ resurgence under Eddie Howe, and the midfielder has hailed the head coach for the role he has played in accelerating his development.

However, the lack of goals is a criticism which continues to irritate Willock. The versatile Newcastle star harbours ambitions of earning a senior England call-up from Gareth Southgate, and has joked about the advice Shearer will offer to improve his goalscoring return.

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Willock told the Telegraph: “My all round game has developed in so many ways, defensively and offensively. I think I’m far more involved in games than I was. I’m affecting them regularly. I understand my role a lot more, but there is still a long way to go.

“I know I need to score more goals, that’s the thing that hasn’t happened this season and it is annoying. I’ve been getting into the positions to score and not taking the chances.

“Maybe I need to speak to Alan (Shearer) and get some advice. I’ve looked at my stats and if I’d taken those chances I would be up there with the leading midfield players in Europe. But I’ve not taken them. I know what Alan will say – hit the ball hard – but I think I’ve been hitting it too hard.”


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