'Everyone seems to have lifted a gear'

Theo Walcott celebrates against Reading
Theo Walcott celebrates against Reading

Theo Walcott spoke to some Chinese journalists recently. Read on for an excerpt from the interview:

on being at Arsenal for 10 years…
I’ve grown from being a little babyface to a man. From when I joined the club to now, it’s completely changed. The likes of Freddie Ljungberg, Robert Pires, Thierry Henry, Sol Campbell and so on were there and had won the league before, going undefeated. Coming into that squad was a big achievement.

on Arsenal being at their best right now…
I’d say so. There’s a lot of competition for places so everyone seems to lift a gear and

"In this calendar year, we’ve been the best team in Europe. It’s the strongest the squad has been"

Theo Walcott

play extremely well. It makes it a bit more difficult for people to get into the team. I think, especially this season, not many people thought we’d be second and challenging for the Premier League.

In this calendar year, we’ve been the best team in Europe. It’s the strongest the squad has been and everyone is staying fit as well. There aren’t many injuries in the squad, which is important. If we had an injury-free season, I think we could lift the title.

on the pressure of moving from No 32 to No 14…
At the time I wanted No 8. I was 32, as I was at Southampton, and wanted eight, but we signed Samir Nasri. My second choice was No 7, but I couldn’t have that because of Tomas Rosicky, so I had 14. I just wanted to get a low number. I didn’t realise at the time that 14 was Thierry and when I did take it, I realised that it was his. I had the opportunity to see him in the flesh and work with him every day. I’m proud to wear the number.

on resemblances between him and Henry…
You could look at the pace side of it and the way we both finish. He had an unbelievable scoring record and to get anywhere near that would be a great achievement for myself. There are a lot of similarities in the way we attack defenders and the way we finish. I want to be my own player - I like to take bits from other players’ games.

I used to look up to him when I was younger and try to study him very well. Having been moved out to the wing, I’ve had to adapt my game and Freddie Ljungberg is a great example to me now, in terms of making runs off the ball. Thierry just made football look very easy at times.

on his connections on the pitch…
I get on well with the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere, who tend to often look for that ball between the centre back and the full back, which I love to run on to. All it takes is a slight little eye contact and they know what I’m going to do.

Mesut is a similar player, he just looks forward first and you want to have a lot of those guys in the team. We have many options like that in this team.


Arsene Wenger talks to Theo Walcott

Arsene Wenger talks to Theo Walcott


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