By Alan Hutton

9th Nov, 2021 | 5:00pm

Howe tipped to 'unleash' Willock at Newcastle after confirmed news - pundit

Joe Willock could “flourish” at Newcastle under the management of Eddie Howe, according to Alan Hutton.

The former Scotland defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the 22-year-old was not suited to the defensive mentality of departed boss Steve Bruce.

Caretaker boss Graeme Jones elected to bench Willock for each of his three games in charge of Newcastle.

Eddie Howe was finally confirmed as the Magpies’ new manager yesterday (November 8th) after what director Amanda Staveley described as a “rigorous recruitment process”.

Willock made the switch to St James’ Park for a reported £25million after making his mark during a loan spell at the club last season.

The youngster netted eight goals in 14 games during his spell at Newcastle during the 2020/21 campaign.

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Hutton suggested the key to the former Arsenal midfielder rekindling that form is handing him more attacking freedom.

“Howe has to get him closer to that front three,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.

“We saw at the back end of last season when he was unleashed and allowed to get forward that he scored a lot of goals, and that’s ultimately why they signed him.

“The problem that he has had is that Steve Bruce is quite defensive-minded, and Willock has struggled to transform from that defensive shape into a more attacking one – which doesn’t suit him.

“If Eddie Howe comes in and changes that philosophy and allows him to play higher up the pitch that will suit his game. He could flourish under his management.”

Willock is yet to register a goal or assist for Newcastle in the Premier League this term.

Newcastle lie 19th in the table and are five points from safety after 11 matches.

In other news, Kieran Maguire has revealed Newcastle United’s transfer plan after ‘speaking to agents’.