Joe Willock left Arsenal football club for Newcastle United for regular game time but playing regularly has not been his only problem, he has been having a tough time coping with racist attacks on social media.
Recall that Joe Willock decided to move permanently to Newcastle United this summer for a transfer fee worth £25 million. He agreed to the deal after spending the last part of last season on loan at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park.
While the midfielder was on loan at Newcastle United, he performed so well that he became the club’s fans’ favorite player due to the form he showed in the couple of games he played for the club before the season ended.
Despite such a form, the 21-year-old midfielder revealed that he was constantly under racial attack via social media. He revealed that the attack was so severe that he often contemplates quitting social media.
In an interview with BBC Radio Newcastle, Joe Willock revealed how he receives “disgusting messages” every day attacking him over the color of his skin.
He said: “Every day I get messages. Messages saying about my color or different things that are disgusting.
“There’s not much you can do – you just have to try and ignore it. I don’t think Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have put up enough of a fight for us to do anything else.
“I feel like the only thing you can do in this day and age is just ignore it and try to put it at the back of your head.
“It comes up on your phone and they have a way of direct messaging you on to your phone these disgusting things and it sort of hurts. It hurts a lot – even speaking about it.”
However, Joe Willock noted that the disadvantage of quitting social media is that he would lose his connection with his supporters.
The midfielder said: “If you come off social media, you lose that connection with all the wonderful fans that are supporting you every day, want to see your everyday life and see what you do and have that connection with you over the platform that they wouldn’t have in real life.”
Joe Willock said he had the option of staying at Arsenal
Joe Willock is a product of the Arsenal football academy. He gained a promotion to the club’s senior team on July 1, 2019. However, in his quest of playing more regularly, the 21-year-old English midfielder decided to join Newcastle on loan in February 2021.
Before he left the Emirate Stadium, Joe Willock made 78 appearances in which he scored 11 goals and provided 4 assists for Arsenal’s senior team.
When he returned to Arsenal from Newcastle ahead of the 2021-2022 season, Arsenal’s coach Mikel Arteta, gave him only 30 minutes of action in pre-season. Hence, he had to agree to return to Newcastle United on a permanent deal.
The Premier League club gave him a 6-year deal which means that Joe Willock would stay at Newcastle United until June 30, 2027.
In his first interview since he left Arsenal, Willock told BBC Radio Newcastle that he had the chance to stay at Arsenal but decided to further his football career at Newcastle United.
“I had the option of staying or looking at other avenues to further my career,” he said.
“Coming back to Newcastle was always at the top of my list so when I decided to leave Arsenal, there was only one place I was going to go and that’s Newcastle.
“I didn’t really have a lot of games in pre-season, I only played 30 to 40 minutes in pre-season. I feel like, for me, I want to put the shirt back on and give my all for Newcastle United.
“Whether it’s this weekend or the following week, I feel like there will be a time where I need to step up and go on the pitch. I’d like to play this weekend so hopefully, I’ll get my opportunity whether it’s from the bench or the start.”