Walcott welcomes Ox emergence
Arsenal winger Theo Walcott has welcomed the emergence of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and insists he does not see the talented teenager as a rival.
Last Updated: 15/04/12 2:07pm
Arsenal winger Theo Walcott has welcomed the emergence of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and insists he does not see the talented teenager as a rival to his position.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, who followed Walcott's lead in joining the Gunners from Southampton, has burst onto the first-team scene at Emirates Stadium this season.
And with the duo regularly employed out wide by manager Arsene Wenger, there have been suggestions that the young pretender could be ready to usurp the England international.
But Walcott maintains that competition for places is healthy in any side, and that the 18-year-old would prefer to feature in a more central midfield role.
He said: "It's always great to have competition. You want to play well, you want the team to play well and to have other players around keeps you on your toes.
"Alex is a good lad and we get on very well. He gets on with his job and he is learning the game. But we are totally different players, to be honest.
"He's told me that he's an attacking midfield player, that he likes to play just behind the striker in that free role. And I can see that because he's very powerful when he gets the ball."
The Gunners can press home their advantage in the race for third place in the Premier League on Monday when they tackle Wigan, with the Emirates Stadium clash live on Sky Sports 1HD and Sky 3D.
Robin van Persie has been pivotal to the success of the North London outfit this season with his 27 top-flight goals, with Walcott quick to praise the efforts of the Gunners captain.
He added: "Robin is absolutely world class. It's nice for him to appreciate me and what I do for him.
"I look up to him - he's my captain and a good friend. I love playing with him because he makes my job so much easier.
"I've had quite a few assists, around 12 or 13, this season. And I think the players appreciate me more now and the manager as well. But you want to have that consistency. I've had it in patches."