By Rob Kelly
Arsène Wenger says Theo Walcott has impressed him as a central striker and will be granted more opportunities in the role.
The England international has been vocal in his desire to play through the middle and has started the last two games, at Reading and Wigan Athletic, in that position.
Walcott has made a positive impression and Wenger says he will now use him on the flank and as the focal point of the attack.
“I like the signs that I have seen,” the manager said. “If you look at my statements, I always said that one day he would play through the middle and it grew in his brain.
“He is now 23. I decided to play Thierry Henry at 23 through the middle because you have to learn a lot before. The fact that you play in other positions as well helps your technique.
“On the wing you need a shorter technique against the line. Once you [then] play in the middle you can go on both sides.
“From [the ages of] 19 to 23, Theo has learnt a lot. Now we will sometimes play him on the flanks and sometimes through the middle. I like what I have seen through the middle.”
Wenger is wary of drawing comparisons between Walcott to Henry, as he believes it places an unnecessary pressure on the 23-year-old.
“He has played two games [through the middle] and you have to be open-minded in our job and give people a chance,” he said. “If they take it, it's good. If [not], he will still be a fantastic winger so it puts some more assets in his game.
“He will learn something in his position and I am confident he will do well in that position. It's a bit early to compare him to Thierry Henry.
“Yes [Henry] gives him advice. It's always important. Theo is a very intelligent boy. He understands very quickly when you tell him something and that's why I think he can do very well in this position.”
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