The FA Community Shield

Arsene Wenger backs Theo Walcott for central role

Monday 27 Jul 2015
Walcott celebrates his winner against Wolfsburg with Jeff Reine-Adelaide
Arsene Wenger has backed Theo Walcott to fire this season, as Arsenal prepare to face Chelsea in The FA Community Shield.

The England forward scored the winner against Wolfsburg on Sunday as the Gunners won the Emirates Cup on home turf following an impressive 6-0 win against Lyon a day earlier.

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And after playing him as a central striker against the German outfit, Arsenal boss Wenger has the belief it is a role Walcott can fulfil for the team.

"It was another goal for Theo and I'm not surprised by that because I played him through the middle," said Wenger after the game.

"I've always said that he's a goalscorer because he has the movement, he has the timing of the run, the speed for the finishing, and he has an eye for taking his chances at the right moments.

"When he gets into these positions he finishes well. Yesterday [Saturday] he nearly scored when he came on as a substitute, today he scored. I believe that Theo will score goals."

Walcott, 26, has previously been used as a wide player on both flanks for Arsenal and England.

A striking role has long been mooted for the former Southampton youngster, though, and Wenger says he plans to utilise Walcott in whichever role suits a particular game.

But when asked which position is Walcott’s best, the Frenchman was philosophical.

"It's a good question because it's a complicated answer," he explained. 

"I think in all the three positions. If you ask him where he loves to play, I believe that even he will say that it depends a little bit on the period. 

"Sometimes he prefers left and when I've played him on the left he likes it as well because if he makes a good run he can score goals as well.

"In his ideal world, he would like to play with a strong guy next to him, a player who is very strong physically, and play off him. 

"We have so many offensive players which makes that very difficult to combine all of them together.

"He's not an aggressive striker, he's a mobile striker. He's the striker who lives from the quality of his movement and the speed of his movement.

"He turns up in the right spaces in the box and you cannot give that to a player. He anticipates well, he understands quickly and when that is linked with his speed and execution it always makes him very dangerous."

The FA Cup holders will be back at Wembley on Sunday when they face Premier League champions Chelsea in The FA Community Shield.

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels