By Chris Harris
Theo Walcott would rather the FA Cup Semi-Final was not decided by a penalty shoot-out but, if it is, he knows Arsenal have the character to prevail.
The England star held his nerve to score from the spot when Arsenal won a nail-biting Champions League shoot-out at Roma last month. That was Walcott’s first experience of those nerve-jangling situations and he could face another if Arsenal and Chelsea are deadlocked after two hours at Wembley.
The 20-year-old looks as likely as anyone to emerge as the matchwinner on Saturday – he has scored in his last two games – but he believes that night in the Stadio Olimpico will hold Arsenal in good stead if the tie goes all the way.
"The Roma game this season showed how much strength of character we've got because we had to come through a penalty shoot-out to win that. It said a lot about our young players,” said Walcott.
"I'd never experienced a penalty shoot-out before as a player. I'm normally always watching at home and want to see it go to penalties for the excitement - but it's not nice, I'm telling you.
"As a player, walking up to take a penalty is hard. You walk up to take the penalty and it's like walking in slow motion, your throat goes dry, you can't hear anything, that's what I felt.
"It was such a relief for me to see it go in. But hopefully that game will spur us on to great things in the future.”Copyright 2013 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 17 Apr 2009