Willock denies Roy Keane’s accusation that Arsenal players ‘disrespect’ Arteta

Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock has hit back at Roy Keane's accusations.

The former Manchester United captain insisted that the youngster was showing a lack of respect by calling Mikel Arteta by his first name following the narrow Gunners victory at Old Trafford last weekend.

“They didn’t show him respect when they called him by his name, Mikel,” Keane said on Sky Sports.

“He’s the manager, the boss, the gaffer. That’s respect. Not Mikel, he’s not his mate.”

Willock, 21, said in response: “As you know we all really, really respect the manager.

“What he’s done over the 10 months he’s been here is mind-blowing and we can only hold our hats off to him and that’s something that we talk about. We talk about the big respect we have for him in the changing room.

“I don’t think that’s a lack of respect; it’s just the relationship we each have with him.”

The youngster has impressed Arteta enough to be handed six appearances in all competitions so far this season, and he is keen to keep knocking on the door of the first-team squad.

“I’m just going to continue working hard,” said Willock when asked about his season so far ahead of the Europa League clash against Molde at the Emirates on Thursday evening.

“I’m 21 years of age and I’m playing for the team that I love, I’m not looking at it too intensely, I’m continuing to work hard and give the question to the boss.

“Every game I play I need to give the question and knock on the door with my performances. I don’t really like to speak, I like show it on the pitch. ”

When asked whether he could leave the club on loan as some point in the future, he added: “I’m just focused playing for this club, and focusing on what I need to do.

“Tomorrow there’s a game, I need to focus on that. I’m not looking too far ahead, so I’m trying to knock on the door with every performance I have.

“I always want to kick on, I always want to start more games in the Premier League, and become the player I’ve always wanted to be. At the start of the season I had a few conversations with the boss and it was very encouraging.

“I thrive on competition, so when I had the conversation with him, that was something positive for me, I wanted to learn from these players that are coming in, that I can train with every day and I can compete with them.

“I want to compete with these players. I told him that’s what I wanted to do, and it was very encouraging for him to support me and say if I play well, I’ll get the chance, so that’s what I’m trying to do right now.”

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