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Matty Willock joins Gillingham after being released by Premier League side Manchester United

By Luke Cawdell

Gillingham have captured former Manchester United midfielder Matty Willock.

The 22-year-old, who has joined on a two-year deal, was released by the Premier League side at the end of the season.

He’s the second midfielder to join the Gills this week, following the arrival of former Cardiff City player Stuart O’Keefe.

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally and manager Steve Evans with new signing Matty Willock and his father Charles. Picture: Chris Davey.
Gillingham chairman Paul Scally and manager Steve Evans with new signing Matty Willock and his father Charles. Picture: Chris Davey.

Gills boss Steve Evans spoke of his delight at the signing, fending off plenty of competition, including Rangers.

He told the club website: “During my brief time as (Gills) manager, this is the signing that excites me the most given his ability, stature, strength and unbelievable reference from United legend Nicky Butt.

“Huge thanks must go to the Chairman who, I think it’s fair to say, I’ve messaged more recently than my wife.

“Gills fans should remember his name. They will love this signing. He is destined for greater things and we’ve beaten off some very significant interest from Championship clubs. He is nothing short of an outstanding talent.”

Former Arsenal youngster Willock, who never managed a first team appearance for United, had two loan spells away from Old Trafford last season, firstly with Scottish Premier side St Mirren and then at League 2 Crawley Town. He’s also previously had a spell at St Johnstone, also in the SPL.

He spent half a season at FC Utrecht in the Netherlands prior to that.

The two midfield arrivals mean the Gills will be keen to see some players move on.

Evans has already said he has told several players that they won't be in his plans going forward but as yet there have been no departures from Priestfield.

Evans is also eyeing several new strikers and is understood to be keen on Kieran Agard, a player who is out of contract this summer after helping MK Dons to promotion in League 2.

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