Joe Willock will be on England manager Gareth Southgate’s radar next season.
That’s the verdict of former England defender Terry Butcher, who has been impressed with what he has seen from the 21-year-old, who has won the Premier League player of the month award for May after starring for Newcastle United during a loan spell.
Willock, who joined the Magpies on loan from Arsenal in January, has scored eight times for Steve Bruce’s men, with the midfielder netting in seven successive Premier League matches at the end of the season, matching a record set by Newcastle legend Alan Shearer.
He helped Newcastle finish 12th in the Premier League with his efforts in recent weeks, and it was enough for him to be crowned the player of the month for May, after coming out on top in a public vote.
Willock came out on top of a shortlist that also included Tottenham’s Gareth Bale, Liverpool stars Alisson Becker and Sadio Mane, Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke, Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, Leeds United’s Rodrigo and Arsenal forward Nicolas Pepe.
Willock’s form has not been enough though to earn him a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the European Championships.
However, Butcher does not think it will be long before Willock is in the England manager’s thoughts, if he continues in the same vein.
“He’s pretty young, he’s done ever so well but it’s a major step up when it comes to England,” he told Play Ojo.
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“It’s the level of training – there’s a big jump from a 21-year-old in the Premier League to international football. I think Gareth would have looked at it and said he’s worth looking at but maybe for next season.”
That will be music to the ears of Willock, but he may have a big decision to make before then with his future uncertain amid Newcastle United interest over a permanent move.
Speaking about transfer interest recently, Willock said: “I’m going to sit down with my team and think about what’s best for me next season,” he told NUFC TV.
“I’m going to go on holiday now and hopefully we can come to the right decision.
“Newcastle will always have a special place in my heart. Wherever I go, this club will always have a special place in my heart so I just want to say thank you to all the fans who have helped me so much and made me feel so welcome and opened their arms for me.
“I wish I could give each of them a hug, but I can’t. Hopefully, you’re satisfied with what I’ve done for the club so far.”