By Nick Teale

Theo Walcott says a full pre-season and hard work on the training ground could make the difference for him this season.

Last summer the striker's preparations were hampered by injury and, as a result, he did not make his first appearance until October. 

However this year Walcott had a productive July, and the 21-year-old hopes that will make the difference to his season.

"I've had a very good pre-season," he reflected. "Not just me but the whole team. We are undefeated and I had a nice break, mentally, through the summer so I could think about things and I'm pushing on now.

"Pre-season is massive. I've been very unlucky with injuries last season. I'm 21 so I want to play games every week now, so it's a big season for me.

"I'm looking out for myself a bit more now - I'm one of the last to leave, I'm always staying behind now after training, practising things; crosses and set pieces and things like that. 

"It's down to me, so I'll look after myself and I'm raring to go now."

After collecting the matchball following his hat-trick in Saturday's 6-0 victory over Blackpool, the Englishman asked his team-mates to sign the souvenir of his treble.

"It's a nice little thing I always do and hopefully there will be more to come," he said.

"I went off and [at the end of the game] I was trying to find the ball and one of the ballboys had it. But I nearly forgot to be honest."

"Scoring a hat-trick feels brilliant but the most important thing is that we got a win today and a clean sheet. 

"It was a good result against Liverpool and Saturday, being the first game at home, was a big stepping stone and I think we need to push on from this result."

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 23 Aug 2010