Theo Walcott is a man - but not a monster - on the pitch for Arsenal now, according to Arsène Wenger.

The 19-year-old has put in a number of eye-catching cameos in recent weeks and, on Saturday, sparkled from the start in the 2-0 win over Reading.

Walcott has been under the microscope ever since he signed from Southampton in January 2006 but now, Wenger argues, he is fulfilling his sky-high potential.

"It was his most complete game," said the manager after the weekend win. "One where he looked most 'the man', the most mature.
"At the start of the season, when Theo was on from the beginning, you did not see a lot from him. There were only glimpses when you could say 'there is something there' and you wondered when he would come out. Now he is starting to show that.
"Theo is not a monster, but he has great body power. When he starts on the first five yards, it is like you throw him away. You do not see him, he is gone. That is more important than just more power. But the way we play, we can take advantage of his qualities.
"Before he was always a bit out of the physical contact side of the game, now he looks for it. I told him he had to be more aggressive and determined. He is that now.

"I feel next season began on Saturday for him. I don't know yet if I will start with him for the rest of the season, but there is a good chance yes.

"It is down to him now, how much he wants it. But I hope he continues to produce this type of performance and on his account are 10 or 15 goals, because that is what you should aim for."

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21 Apr 2008