Arsenal Football Club is delighted to announce that Theo Walcott has signed a new long term contract with the Club.

Walcott, who turned 20 in March, joined Arsenal from Southampton in January 2006, has already made a marked impression at the Club, racking up 103 appearances and scoring 14 goals.

Playing as a forward, or on either wing, Theo’s Arsenal career truly ignited in the second half of last season with a series of sparkling contributions underlining the progress he has made since joining the Gunners as a 16 year-old.

The searingly quick attacker burst into life with an excellent brace in the 7-0 win over Slavia Prague in October 2008, following a series of telling substitute appearances. His contributions last season also included his amazing run to set up Emmanuel Adebayor’s late goal in the Champions League Quarter-Final against Liverpool.

This season, although a shoulder injury interrupted his progress, Theo has been a regular in the first team, making 32 overall appearances, including 19 in the Premier League. During this campaign, he has scored six goals, including one in the FA Cup Semi-Final against Chelsea and his exquisite finish against Villarreal in the Champions League Quarter-Final.

Arsène Wenger said: “We are absolutely delighted that Theo has committed his long term future to Arsenal Football Club. Theo is an intelligent player with amazing ability and speed, and has developed extremely well this season. At still only 20 years of age, Theo has huge potential for the forthcoming years and we are all looking forward to see him grow even more in an Arsenal shirt.”

Walcott added: “I’m absolutely delighted to have signed a new long term contract. I’m so happy here and just want to say thanks to everyone who has helped me get to this point in my career. Together with the belief of my team mates, the boss and everyone on the staff, everyone has got behind me here at Arsenal which is brilliant.

“It’s fantastic to work with the best manager in the world and play at Emirates Stadium, which is an unbelievable place to play in. I just want to continue playing my football at this Club and look forward to many successful seasons ahead.”

Theo was earmarked as a young prodigy at Southampton when he became their youngest first team player at the age of 16 years and 143 days. He is also England’s youngest-ever International (17 years and 75 days, debuting against Hungary in May 2006), and was the youngest member of any squad at the 2006 World Cup. Additionally, he was named BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2006.

Walcott, who now has six England caps, burst onto the international scene in September, when he scored a hat-trick in his country’s 4-1 victory over Croatia in a World Cup Qualifying match in Zagreb.

Everyone at Arsenal Football Club is looking forward to Theo’s continued contribution in the forthcoming years.

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8 May 2009