By Richard Clarke

Theo Walcott has apologised to Arsène Wenger and Simon Grayson for diving in the final stages of Arsenal’s draw with Leeds on Saturday.

The winger was hauled down for the last-minute spot-kick that levelled the FA Cup Third Round tie. But, just before that, the home side had also claimed a penalty when the England international appeared to be felled by Alex Bruce. However, speaking afterwards, Walcott admitted he had not been clipped.

“I want to apologise to the managers because I actually dived,” said the 21-year-old. “I was trying to win the penalty.

“I said to one of their players ‘would you have done it?’ and he said he probably would have.

“I am not the sort of player to do it but I own up to it and apologise. It is something I don’t want to see in my game.

“I have heard some players say if there is a slight touch go down and it can work both ways. It was one of those things. I am not happy with myself for doing that but I am happy that we got the draw.

"I had a little joke with the referee afterwards saying ‘that was my first dive, can you tell?’

“I don’t have to own up to it and I can’t speak for other players but I have just expressed how I feel. I hope people respect that.”

Walcott did win a legitimate penalty a couple of minutes later and Arsenal nearly forced a dramatic winner in injury time when Denilson’s drive was turned aside.

“Yes, Kasper [Schmeichel] made some great saves and reminds me so much of his Dad,” said Walcott. “It was not really our day today but we could have won it at the end.”

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8 Jan 2011