‘Unique’ Newcastle United ace Eddie Howe loves reveals ‘highest level’ ambition after Man United display

Newcastle United could soon have another England international in the squad as the charge for Champions League football.
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Midfielder Joe Willock grabbed the headlines on Sunday by scoring the opening goal in Newcastle’s 2-0 win over Manchester United at St James’ Park on Sunday. The 23-year-old has been a key member of The Magpies squad this season with 34 appearances in all competitions.

His close-range header against Man United was his third goal of the season after finding the net against Southampton and Chelsea before the World Cup break. While Willock still boasts the impressive feat of being the youngest player to have scored in seven consecutive Premier League matches having done so while on loan at Newcastle during the 2020-21 campaign, the midfielder feels he is a much better player now.

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Willock’s work-rate and athleticism have seen him impress in Eddie Howe’s side this season and help mount a Champions League charge. And the former Arsenal youngster has his eyes on the England squad.

Newcastle Head Coach Eddie Howe (l) with Joe Willock during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on April 02, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)Newcastle Head Coach Eddie Howe (l) with Joe Willock during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on April 02, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Newcastle Head Coach Eddie Howe (l) with Joe Willock during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on April 02, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

“Of course, that’s my dream [to play for England],” the former England Under-21 international said. “I want to add more goals and assists to my game, and I feel like it will come. If I keep chipping away in training and working hard, I feel like it will definitely come.

“I’m a unique midfielder and I’ve got all the attributes to definitely play at the highest level, which is obviously playing for your country.

“I feel like I can add a lot of things to the team that are very good. I believe in my abilities, so hopefully I can play at the highest level.”

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Whether Willock and his midfield team-mate Sean Longstaff could be called-up for England was a question put to Howe in his pre-match press conference.

“I wouldn't necessarily push Gareth [Southgate] in that way,” Howe said. “But, speaking about both players, they've both been very consistent this season, that has probably been their hallmark.

"They've been physically and athletically very strong. Tactically they've been very good for me, they play in key positions so they have to have a high tactical understanding of the game.

"Off the ball they've been really good and I can't speak highly enough of them. Joe has started to score goals as well which is very much in his game.”