Arsenal youngster Chris Willock will break into the first-team next season, according to Arsene Wenger.

The 18-year-old has been in impressive form for the under-21s this campaign, regularly training with the first-team and being included in two matchday squads, including Tuesday’s trip to Yorkshire where the Gunners beat Hull City 2-0 at the KC Stadium.

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Although Willock has yet to make a single appearance for the first-team, his appearances in pre-season and throughout the youth levels put him in a good position to stake his claim.

A winger who can operate in a number of different roles across the front midfield line, Willock has been tipped for a big future, none more so than the Gunners’ manager, who, as reported by the club’s official website, believes that next season may just be his time.

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Chris is a very gifted player with natural strength and natural talent.

He has what you do not find very easily.

He can have a go at people, can get past people in one on ones. We forget sometimes that the basis of team sport is to first be strong one against one and Chris has that quality.

I believe that he has the needed character when he has his back to the wall to always respond in a very strong way. That’s a very important quality, to be able to play under pressure.

Overall I would be very comfortable to play him now but of course there is a lot of competition for places because there are players like Walcott, Alexis and Welbeck in front of him at the moment.

If I had to play him then I would have no fear in doing so. Next season I think he will be a player who will get to feature in the team.

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The 18-year-old Englishman could again be in the Arsenal squad this weekend as the north London side play host to Watford in the FA Cup quarter final.

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