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A leggy midfielder who has impressed in a central role and finished the 2016/17 season in style, Willock was formerly with Arsenal.

The youngster still has one brother, Joseph, on the Gunners' books, while Chris made the move to Benfica this summer. An acquisition in the summer of 2012, he was not deemed ready for Under-18 action in his first year but impressed at the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland. He appeared to shoot up in height, covering the ground in effortless fashion, and holding down a role in central midfield for Paul McGuinness' side, making a superb start to the campaign. A key contributor with his energy and distribution, he got off the mark at Under-18 league level with a superb long-range strike during the win against West Brom in October. By making more appearances than any of his colleagues, 29 in total, he proved a valuable asset to the team and often performed an unsung role in the engine room. Nonetheless, his progress did not go unnoticed as he was elevated to Warren Joyce's Under-21 squad and came off the bench in the goalless draw with eventual champions Chelsea. After stepping up to Under-21 level, he had to be patient but was often included in the matchday squad. He came on as a late substitute for four-goal James Wilson in the Manchester Senior Cup final, one of eight outings for Joyce's men. The undisputed highlight was a stunning strike in the 4-0 thumping of Manchester City at Old Trafford in the penultimate fixture, adding gloss to a victory that was to prove sufficient to clinch the title. With that experience under his belt, he pushed for a regular place in the team in 2015/16 and showed off the skill and stamina that had already caught the eye. A key performer for the Under-21 champions, he racked up 16 appearances and provided a winning combination of silk and steel in his midfield performances. Capable of driving forward to good effect, he bounced back from an injury lay-off when scoring as a substitute in the 2-1 defeat at Southampton, when the Reds had already been crowned as title victors. In the final league game of the season, at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge, he grabbed the only goal and was unlucky not to find the scoresheet before then after a mazy dribble. Remaining capable of moments of real quality, he netted against Manchester City for the Reserves last term and had a moment to savour when heading a dramatic last-gasp winner at Anfield against Liverpool. He came agonisingly close to a senior debut when being prepared to come off the bench on the final day of the Premier League season against Crystal Palace, only for Eric Bailly to recover from injury and soldier on. Matty will gain some valuable experience on the continent this campaign, as he enjoys a season-long loan spell at FC Utrecht in the Eredivisie.

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