Joe Willock is no stranger to hard work.
The 20-year-old has been praised for his all-action performances in midfield this season, and was rewarded for his tireless displays with a new long-term contract this week.
So where does all that spirit and determination come from?
“It’s no exaggeration to say that my dad gave me the type of work-rate that I have,” Willock told Arsenal Player. “He’s a big part of who I am today, and is the reason why me and my brothers have got to where we are today. He’s shown us how to do a lot of things, but his main thing was for us to work hard at everything we did.
“After we’d finished training during the day at Hale End, we used to go to the park for hours until it got dark, and he’d be teaching us different skills. There’d be times where he’d boot the ball up into the air and we’d take turns trying to bring it down, and then other times we’d put him in goal and play a knock-out tournament between us. He’s put in a lot of hard work for us, blood, sweat and tears, and he’s always supported me.
“If it wasn’t my dad, it was my two older brothers. If I ever didn’t want to go to training for whatever silly reason, I’d have to answer to one of my brothers and then if it ever got to my dad… well I’d make sure I was ready for training before that!
“He’s always been there to make sure I’m pushing myself to be the best person and player I can be. He would say, ‘Even if you’re tired, you’ve still got to show what you can do because you can improve every day’.”
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