Walcott eyeing CL start
Theo Walcott is hoping to put his recent injury problems behind him with a start against Olympiakos
By Danny Wright
Last Updated: 08/12/09 5:31pm
Arsenal winger Theo Walcott is eyeing a return to first team action in his side's Champions League clash with Olympiakos.
The Gunners travel to the Karaiskakis Stadium top of Group H having already qualified for the knockout stages and Walcott returns to the squad after suffering recent injury setbacks.
Arsene Wenger has named 10 teenagers in his squad for the match as the manager looks to preserve his side's unbeaten record in the competition.
Walcott has been dogged by injuries all season, restricting him to just four appearances.
The 20-year-old was ruled out of the 2-0 home win over Stoke with a hamstring problem but the England international says he is hungry for a return to the starting XI.
"Hopefully I'll get a start (against Olympiakos)," he told the club's official website.
"[Then I want to] build on from that and get a consistent run of games, that's really important for me at the moment."
Olympiakos go into the match in second place but need a point to book a spot in the next round.
Standard Liege take on AZ Alkmaar needing a win to have any hope of progression, whilst relying on Wenger's youngsters to defeat the Greek side.
Walcott says his side can focus their efforts on challenging for the Premier League with qualification already wrapped up, and believes giving the club's young players a run out will prove to be a useful exercise.
Mikael Silvestre and Alex Song give the Gunners side some experience, with the likes of Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Carlos Vela already familiar with the Champions League despite their age.
"It's always good to qualify for the Champions League early so you can focus on the Premier League," Walcott said.
"It gives opportunities to players who don't get a chance to play as much in these games and it's a great experience for them all.
"They need a point to qualify so I'm sure they'll go all guns blazing," explained Walcott.
"The atmosphere will be a great experience for us all but we've been to some tough places before."