Arsene Wenger has a message for Arsenal fans on Chris Willock

The 18-year-old is highly rated by Arsenal coaches at youth and senior level.

Arsene Wenger has told Arsenal fans that they can expect to see a lot of highly-rated young forward Chris Willock next season, speaking to the club's official website.

We seem to be always talking about gems inside the Gunners' academy and few ever make it to the first team - and even fewer manage to stay there.

But big things are expected of 18-year-old Willock, who has impressed in the club's youth teams this season, though he has not yet won a senior debut from the French manager.

He has, however, been named in the squad for two FA Cup ties - including for the 4-0 win at Hull City on Tuesday night - and might well win a spot in the 18 again when they host Watford in tomorrow's quarter-final.

Wenger admits that he is hugely excited about his potential, and promises to unleash him next season.

“Chris is a very gifted player with natural strength and natural talent,” Wenger told “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.”

With Arsenal eight points behind Leicester in the Premier League title race, and trailing 2-0 to Barcelona in a last-16 Champions League tie, their season might well hinge on winning the FA Cup.

They do have the pedigree, though, having won the last two editions of the competition, but Watford can certainly be a banana skin tomorrow - especially with the way Wenger's side are playing.

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