Newcastle clawed themselves out of the bottom three with an emphatic 3-1 win over Everton in the Premier League on Tuesday night.
Jamaal Lascelles’ own goal put the Toffees ahead in the match, but Mason Holgate returned the favour by putting the ball into his own net a minute later.
Goals from Ryan Fraser and Kieran Trippier then sealed the three points for the Magpies, with the latter scoring his first goal for the club.
Whilst Trippier was sensational again for Newcastle with his goal and his sublime set-piece delivery, huge credit must go to central midfielder Joe Willock.
FFC published an article in the build-up to the game highlighting his poor form this season and suggesting that he should be dropped to the team. However, this performance was the perfect response to our criticism of him and any critics from elsewhere as he put in an excellent showing on and off the ball.
Willock may have now kickstarted his career at St James’ Park on a permanent basis as he could soon become a fan favourite if he puts a string of displays together in the same vein as this season.
Off the ball, he was all over the pitch for Newcastle. As per SofaScore, he won a whopping 12 duels in his 89 minutes on the pitch, making one block, one interception and winning four tackles. One of those challenges resulted in Fraser’s goal, as Willock pinched the ball off Dele Alli just inside the Everton half – starting the move that ended in Allan Saint-Maximin’s cross falling to the Scot’s feet from close range.
This shows that he put immense effort in defensively, in terms of both his passive defending in a low blow and his aggressive pressing in the final third. Howe will surely be delighted with the tenacity he showed throughout the match and the bite he added to his game.
He also offered quality in possession. Via SofaScore, he completed an impressive five of his six attempted dribbles, losing the ball just nine times all match. This shows that he was reliable with the ball at his feet and was able to progress the play by taking it past opposition players effectively.
Therefore, the £80k-per-week gem’s overall performance was superb as he made an impact at both ends of the pitch. He can now kick on and have a strong end to the campaign by putting together a run of displays of the same quality in the weeks and months to come.
AND in other news, Keith Downie issues exciting NUFC transfer claim that’ll leave fans buzzing