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Theo Walcott is first choice Arsenal striker, says Arsene Wenger

Theo Walcott of Arsenal celebrates scoring the opening goal against Stoke

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says Theo Walcott is his first choice striker - for now.

Wenger has used Olivier Giroud and Walcott up front this season, and French star Giroud is making selection tricky for the Arsenal boss, coming off the bench to score in the 2-0 win over Bayern Munich in midweek and at Watford last weekend.

But Wenger says England international Walcott is currently the man he wants to lead the line.

"It is always hard," he said. "They are top players. I consider the form, the game on the day.

Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring a goal for Arsenal during the UEFA Champions League match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich
Image: Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring a goal for Arsenal against Bayern

"At the end of the season both will have played their share of games but at the moment it is Theo. In a few weeks, it might be Giroud. What is important is that both contribute."

Wenger revealed he asked England boss Roy Hodgson to be cautious with Walcott in the European Qualifier against Lithuania as he feared the artificial pitch in Vilnius could cause an injury.

Theo or Olivier?
Theo or Olivier?

Walcott and Giroud battle to be Arsenal's No 1 striker

Walcott scored against Estonia at Wembley on October 9, and then travelled with the squad to Lithuania ahead of the final qualifying tie on the 3G surface at the LFF Stadium.

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However, the 26-year-old was an unused substitute as Hodgson's experimental side cruised to a 3-0 victory.

Wenger confirmed he had a direct conversation with the England boss concerning how to best manage Walcott, who was sidelined for almost a year following a knee injury which ruled him out of the 2014 World Cup.

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"I cannot call every national coach after every game to ask them not to play the players," said Wenger.

"We had a conversation about Theo because England were playing on an artificial pitch. In the end the decision was left to Roy Hodgson.

"We asked him to consider being cautious, and to speak to Theo to ask him how he felt... because they played on an artificial pitch, Theo had come back from a long-term injury and basically nobody wants to play on artificial pitches, as we know."

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