Wenger promises Walcott his dream role

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Stay and play - Walcott
Stay and play - Walcott

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has told Theo Walcott that he will get his chance to prove himself as a striker if he signs a new contract with the Gunners.

Walcott has been edged out of the Arsenal team by a host of high profile wingers in recent weeks, with Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Danny Welbeck all being used in a wide role.

Yet winger Walcott has always claimed he wants to be used as a striker and now Wenger is ready to grant him his wish.

“It’s not too late for him to become a striker,” stated Wenger. “I think his position will be striker.

"I work with him in both situations, as a striker and as a wide player, but the quality of the runs is so fantastic with the pace he has.

“He is a good finisher now. When he was younger he was rushing his finishing, but he is a good finisher now. I bought him at Southampton when he was 17 because I believe in his qualities as a good finisher and now the timing of his runs are very intelligent.

“He’s at the best age, being born in 1989. Being 26 to 32 as a striker is the best age as a striker and I wouldn’t like to miss that golden age.

“He is naturally gifted to play in this forward position, but he has different qualities. Olivier Giroud has a physical presence, back to goal, can head the ball. Theo is more a guy who is a runner, who goes behind.”

Walcott's current Arsenal contract is set to expire in the summer of 2016 and Wenger has insisted he will get enough game time if he stays at the club.

"Nobody has played more for us than Theo Walcott," added Wenger. "I think he has played 200 games and that means he is part of us.

“You will ask whether he will play enough anywhere he will go because he will only be in a big club and in a big club the competition is there."