Arsène Wenger believes Theo Walcott has had a “combined education” from Arsenal and Southampton.

The England international spent his early years at the south-coast club before moving to the Gunners when he was 16.

Since then he has developed into one of the most feared forwards in Europe, but Wenger says the credit should be shared between the two clubs.

I consider today that a top, top, top Premier League club produces a player when it takes them at 16 and is bold enough educate him and play him in the Premier League

Arsène Wenger

“The real question is at what age can you think you have produced a player?” he said. “For me he has been educated at Southampton [but] I consider today that a top, top, top Premier League club produces a player when it takes them at 16 and is bold enough educate him and play him in the Premier League.

“He had no starts in the Premier League - he went to the World Cup [in 2006] without any starts in the Premier League [so] it’s a question that is quite open.

“It is a combined education from Southampton and Arsenal. That is how you can basically call it.”

Wenger believes Walcott’s return will give his side an extra attacking dimension as they head into a busy winter.

“He gives us qualities that other players haven’t got,” he said. “It gives us options to score, to go behind [defenders] to create space in the middle.

“We have a lot of players who like to come to the ball so to have one or two who go behind and create space [is a big benefit].”

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 Rob Kelly 22 Nov 2013