Theo Walcott played a blinder against West Bromich Albion on the final day of the Premier League and the boss was quick to praise the forward.
In his post-match press conference, Arsene Wenger noted that Walcott had played well against Sunderland midweek but the goal scoring today was just the icing on the cake.
“He was already sharp when he came on in our midweek game against Sunderland,” the manager commented. “He was the one who created the chances and I always said that he could play through the middle because he has good movement, good finishing and he did that well today.”
Theo scored a hattrick in the first half and continued to press until he was substituted off, having arguably one of his best games for us in a long time.
Wenger wanted to highlight the important of patience when it comes to rehabilitating players from serious injury.
“He’s a good goalscorer but he has been out for a year,” he said. “A year in football is a long, long time and it takes more time to come back to your best so that you are sharp and confident. Jack is a bit similar. He has been out for six months and now he is coming back. He had a very convincing performance in the first half.
Wenger added, “He’s the right age [to play through the middle]. He’s 26 years old, it’s a good age for a footballer. I wish that he stays free of injuries now. He had a few downs on the injury front and that’s never good. You have to be consistently present to express your full potential.”
Predictably, the topic of Walcott’s contract came up. The player has entered negotiations with the club to extend his current deal with the Gunners. There’s only a year left on his existing one and his performance today is bound to attract the attention of other clubs who may be interested in signing the Englishman.
“With or without his hat-trick, we want him to stay at Arsenal,” Wenger added. “We are in negotiations and we have started to speak with his agent. We did that before he scored his hat-trick. Last time he got injured he was playing centre forward in a very convincing game against Tottenham Hotspur in January. He got injured and was out for a year. On that day he was injured playing up front.”
With the likes of Liverpool rumoured to be eyeing Theo, hopefully we get these negotiations wrapped up as soon as possible.