Walcott admits frustration
Theo Walcott has revealed that he approached Arsene Wenger over his lack of opportunities at Arsenal.
Last Updated: 06/04/08 10:10am
Theo Walcott has revealed that he approached Arsene Wenger over his lack of opportunities when he felt he was playing well enough to be included in the Arsenal side.
Walcott has yet to establish himself as a regular starter at Emirates Stadium and he admits at times it has been frustrating.
He feels that on occasions Wenger has been wrong to leave him out, but concedes that it was still a nervous moment when he asked the Arsenal manager what more he needed to do to force his way into the team.
"Sometimes, it's been frustrating," Walcott told the News of the World.
"There are times when I haven't deserved to play because I wasn't playing well enough but there have been times when I have been playing well and not been involved and that struck me a bit.
"So I actually went up to him for the first time and asked him what I had to do to start.
"I initiated the conversation and walked over to him on the training ground. It was a difficult thing to do, but I'm glad I did it.
"And he was fine. In fact, I think he thought it was really big of me to go to a top manager when I was 18 and ask what I had to do to improve."
Time to push on
Walcott, who turned 19 last month, has produced a number of eye-catching performances as a substitute in recent weeks but feels he is now ready for a more important role.
"Not many 19-year-old players are doing what I'm doing," he said.
"And it's an honour even to sit on the Arsenal substitutes' bench. And when I come on, I like to think it lifts the team and lifts the supporters.
"But now I want to push on. I want to be starting and starting regularly."
Walcott has been likened to former Arsenal player Thierry Henry and he hopes that his career could develop along a similar path.
"I would never compare myself to Thierry because he is just an unbelievable player - in fact, when I first signed for Arsenal, one of the first things I did was to have my picture taken with Thierry," Walcott recalled.
"But I was star-struck then. Not any more. I feel comfortable now. I feel established as a Premier League player and I want to push ahead.
"The boss is taking a similar route with me as he took with Thierry - playing me out wide, protecting me a bit and then going upfront later in my career.
"When I had the chat to him (Wenger), he wanted me to be more aggressive in my style. Not going around kicking people but aggressive in an attacking sense. I think I have done that.
"I think I will be playing as a striker next season and the boss seems to think that as well.
"I will play anywhere for the team but as a striker seems to be the future."