By Richard Clarke

Robin van Persie is backing Theo Walcott to hit the 'big time' with Arsenal this season.

Both players were back in training early over the summer as they bid to recover from injuries. Van Persie was in a rich vein of form before he suffered a broken metatarsal in mid-January. Walcott had made some promising cameos before a shoulder problem hampered his progress.

On the strength of pre-season, the Dutchman believes the Englishman is looking to establish himself in the first-team during the coming campaign.

"I have been practising with Theo since June 18 and I can assure you that he is up for it big time," Van Persie told "When we were doing tests over the summer it was very hard. We were running every day with the fitness coach and I could see it in his face he was really going for it.

"I like Theo has a person. He is a young man but I think he has big, big ambitions for himself to show his qualities. His ambition is one of the biggest things about him. He is just 18 but I see in him a big, big desire achieve his goals."

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Richard Clarke 8 Aug 2007