Arsene Wenger says he’s been rewarded for keeping faith in Theo Walcott amid the “ups and downs” of his career.
The 27-year-old had an underwhelming 2015/16 campaign but has bounced back strongly to rediscover his form and confidence this season.
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“Why did I always stick with him? Because I think he is ambitious but he is intelligent and with intelligent people there is always a chance,” said Wenger.
“He has what the big players have. They have a fair assessment of their performances and their weaknesses. Because he had two shocks last year... what happened to him [in the defeat] at Manchester United and what happened at the Euros [when he missed out on the England squad].
“I think he thought about the problem, I had a chat with him at the start of the season and he was clear. He is a strong character and when you look at his career he has gone [up and down] more than anybody. At 16 he had the World Cup, since then he has not been at the World Cup.
“Big injuries, big setbacks, questions about his quality and his commitment… he has assessed it all and came to a conclusion that looked to me looked very positive, and that’s why I thought he deserves a big chance.
“I think he was clear, and in all our lives that clarity is the most important factor. He had clarity in his head. Once you have that you have a chance.
“When people are confused about what they want, where they want to go, that is a problem. Once you have clarity, it is a very needed quality to move forward in life. Once you have that you commit 100 per cent. And you get a chance.”
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