By Richard Clarke

According to Theo Walcott, Sparta Prague are the toughest test Arsenal could have been handed at this stage of the Champions League.

The 18-year-old is itching to be part of the starting XI this evening as Arsène Wenger's team take on the Czech 'double' winners in the third qualifying round first leg. But, if selected, he will not be taking the hosts lightly.

"It will be an interesting game against Sparta Prague," he said. "For me, they are just about the most difficult team we could face at this stage. But if you want to win it, you have to beat all the top teams anyway.

"The win over Fulham has set us up for it and the confidence is really high going into the game."

Walcott had an important cameo role on Sunday as Arsenal roared back to win the season's opener at Emirates Stadium and he is well aware Wenger is without three midfielders and two strikers for a crucial tie.

"It's up to the boss of course," he said. "But I don't mind where I play - right, left or up front. It's unlucky for those players who are out. It's really bad timing because we had a great pre-season and after all that hard work they have a set-back and then have to catch-up. I'm sure they will be back soon though."

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Richard Clarke 15 Aug 2007