By Joe Brewin

Arsène Wenger says Theo Walcott has become a more accomplished player this season.

The winger has come a long way since his move from Southampton as a fresh-faced 16-year-old back in 2006, establishing himself as a first-team regular in a short space of time.

Walcott returned from international duty with England this week, and Wenger believes the more disciplined wide man has improved the defensive side of his game in recent months.

“I believe that Theo is developing very well into a team player - more than he ever was,” said the Frenchman.

“I personally am happy with the way he has developed this season. He defends better, his link player is better, his final balls are better and he is only 22 years old.

“Of course when you play against Spain for the strikers it's different because you don't touch the ball a lot.

“You know when the game starts that Spain have the ball 70 per cent of the time. You are left with 30 per cent only to have a chance to get the ball, so in 60 minutes you only get 18 minutes for yourself.”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 18 Nov 2011