When Joe Willock ends this interview saying he feels at dwelling at Newcastle United, completely happy, and settled, enjoying the most effective soccer of his profession, beneath a superb supervisor alongside teammates he has come to consider as household, it’s a extra highly effective assertion than you would possibly realise.
For the primary time, Willock, whose wonderful performances this season have pushed him to the periphery of the England squad, has revealed he suffered terribly with homesickness. Dwelling on his personal, in the midst of the Northumbrian countryside, he questioned if he had made an terrible mistake.
Pulled away from all his household and pals, in addition to the snug and reassuring environment of Arsenal, Willock struggled after agreeing to show a mortgage right into a everlasting transfer in the summertime of 2021.
“On the time, it was overwhelming,” Willock defined, his vast eyes dominating his boyish face. “Leaving London, leaving Arsenal and coming into the unknown actually, it was arduous nevertheless it was the correct time. I’d by no means been this far north earlier than, I’d by no means visited Newcastle.
“I used to be additionally becoming a member of a staff that was combating relegation. It was all new to me. It was a troublesome expertise, as a result of I’d been so sheltered at Arsenal. But it surely was additionally an incredible one.
“To expertise a completely totally different dressing room surroundings, beneath a distinct supervisor, enjoying with actual strain in your shoulders as a result of we had been in that relegation battle, it was the making of me.
“I had been so protected at Arsenal. I used to be a younger child coming via the age teams, then a younger participant making an attempt to interrupt into the primary staff. Even after I performed within the first staff it was like, ‘oh he’s only a younger child.’
“There was nothing like the identical strain there. I wouldn’t say it was simple, nevertheless it wasn’t as aggressive as enjoying for Newcastle. I got here right here and I used to be anticipated to be one of many most important gamers to get us out of bother.”
Willock did simply that, however he doesn’t try to cover any of the private issues he endured. The feelings are uncooked, but he’s pleased with what he has achieved. Not a lot as a participant – though he’s a much better one now than he was when he arrived – however what he went via away from the coaching floor.