FA Cup: Arsenal forward Theo Walcott determined to be better than ever after injury lay-off

Arsenal's English striker Theo Walcott attends a training session for the forthcoming UEFA Champions League
Image: Theo Walcott: The forward is confident Arsenal will rebound from Southampton defeat against Hull.

Theo Walcott is confident he will return from his latest injury lay-off a more complete player as he prepares for a long-awaited start for Arsenal against Hull in the FA Cup on Sunday.

The forward has only three appearances under his belt since being out for almost a year with a serious knee injury, with a groin problem suffered while on international duty earlier in the season delaying his comeback.

Walcott came off the bench in the 2-0 Premier League defeat at Southampton, but is expected to lead the Gunners' attack in what is a re-run of last season's FA Cup final against the Tigers.

The 25-year-old, who became a father for the first time in April, is determined to become better than ever following his layoff.

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"It is about a year since [the injury] and it has gone very quickly,” said Walcott. “I have had loads of things in my life that have changed completely, so that side of it was a good thing.

"Things happen for a reason and it has given me the opportunity to work on different parts of my game that I missed out on when I was younger, the actual development stage of it.

"I am looking forward to going out there and getting a few minutes. I am not expecting too much from these games early on.

"It will be blowing the cobwebs away and will be good to be out playing with my mates again because I have missed it all."

Defeat to Southampton on New Year’s Day left Arsenal sixth in the Premier League, behind north London rivals Tottenham in fifth.

Walcott acknowledges the Gunners have not played as well as expected at times this season but he is confident defending the FA Cup will bring the best out of the team.

"It is been a stop and start season at times, but I think being champions of the FA Cup will make us want to hold onto that," he said.

"We have our home support and we have to bounce back from the Southampton game.

"I think it means a lot to everyone but, being English, you always want to put that bit more effort into it.

"The fans always love a good cup run - they always like to go to those different stadiums.

"I enjoy going to a team in League One; things like that, which you don't get the opportunity to do any more, are so special."

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