By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger has reiterated his faith in Theo Walcott following weekend reports that the Arsenal manager was not satisfied with the progress of his teenage forward.

The second anniversary of Walcott's move from Southampton to Arsenal passed on Sunday and the 18-year-old, who is expected to feature in tonight's Carling Cup Semi-Final at Tottenham, has scored four times in 24 starts for Wenger's side.

Walcott has been deployed largely on the right side of midfield but Wenger revealed last week that his future lies as a central striker. The Frenchman admitted that Walcott was not yet at the level "where I expect him to be" but was forced to clarify his position at Monday's pre-match press conference.

"I believe that I was completely misinterpreted with what I said," Wenger insisted.

"People asked me 'do you expect more from him?'. I said of course because I cannot expect less from an 18-year-old player and I believe that he is like every player and wants to play in every game.

"I am amazed that people are surprised that he is a little bit frustrated when he doesn't play. It is part of his job and part of his improvement.

"Overall I am very happy with him, I have said many times that he will be a player through the middle, as a striker, because the timing of his runs, the quality of his runs is fantastic and he is a clinical finisher. The time he spends on the right will help him became a fantastic striker."

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Chris Harris 22 Jan 2008