By Joe Brewin

Theo Walcott knows that variety in his play is vital if he wants to remain more than a speed merchant.

The 23-year-old has used his pace to great effect since he broke into the Arsenal side but his all-round game has improved with experience. This season’s Premier League return of eight goals and nine assists is testament to that with Walcott earning praise from Footballer of the Year Robin van Persie among others.

Walcott believes that he must continue to mix up his game to keep his opponents guessing.

“At times people just expect me to knock the ball and run but it is not as easy as you think to be honest,” he told Arsenal Player. “As soon as you start doing that, the defender knows what you are doing every time. You need to change it because you can't just be one-dimensional.

“I am always going to be known for pace, I know that. But the next step is the finishing. I have a lot of assists this season but I don't think I am ever going to lose that.”

Walcott has dealt with his fair share of criticism this season but the England international believes Arsenal’s 5-2 victory over Tottenham - in which he scored twice - was the turning point. That, according to Walcott, is when his instinct took over.

“You always try but when things aren't going for you in the game you tend to try too hard and nothing goes your way no matter how hard you try,” he said. “A perfect example would be Tottenham in the first half. I was just trying too hard and it wasn't quite happening.

“But then I just tried to forget about that, played as a free spirit in the second half and it happened.

“Football is a weird game; you have your ups and downs and that is the way it works. Nobody goes out there not wanting to play well, you want to put in 100 per cent but if it isn't going for you then it's just not going for you.”

You can watch Theo’s full ‘Close Up’ interview on Arsenal Player now.

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 2 May 2012