By Richard Clarke

While Theo Walcott’s timing was perfect against Burnley on Saturday, it seems it was somewhat lacking the day before.

On the eve of the crucial Premier League game, the 20-year-old winger missed the bus to the team hotel and had to hitch a lift with equipment manager Paul Johnson. That is why Walcott ran to the bench for a special celebration with his ‘driver’ after scoring the all-important goal with just over an hour gone at Emirates Stadium.

“I was late for the bus so I had to get a car to the hotel so that’s why I was pointing to a watch,” he said.

“It was Paul Johnson I ran over to because he was waiting for me in the car. I wasted a bit of his time. I probably will get a fine but I’ll take it.

“I shouldn’t be late but I just got caught in traffic. Maybe it will be forgotten about now.”

Walcott’s performance won’t be however. He had been criticised for his display for England a few days earlier and played like he has something to prove. His goal, a classy cut inside and drive into the far corner, was entirely in keeping with his eye-catching contribution.

“Hopefully this is a kick-start for me,” he said. “But the thing about me is that I’m not going to get carried away or too big about myself. I will look back at my performance and see what I can do better.

“I ran into the corner flag on Saturday and kicked the ball out for a goal-kick, so that needs to improve straight away. I won’t do that again. I will watch the game and study my performance on a DVD and see what I can do better. I will take whatever I can into Tuesday’s game.

“But the most important thing on Saturday was to get three points. Burnley frustrated us at times and it was very tight in the end. But we got the three points, which was very important.

“We are just chalking off games and wins one by one at the moment. As long as we get three points every single weekend, we will see at the end of the season.

“We believed we could get back into the title race and we’ve showed that lately. We had big setbacks but it’s a funny season, everyone is beating each other. But we have shown that belief and hopefully it will remain for the whole season now.”

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8 Mar 2010