Walcott: Assurances over playing up front key to new Arsenal deal

The 24-year-old also backs under-fire boss Arsene Wenger to prove his doubters wrong after another season without silverware

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott has revealed assurances over opportunities to play up front were key to him extending his stay at the Emirates Stadium.

And, while he has yet to feature more regularly as an attacking focal point, the 24-year-old is happy for current frontman Olivier Giroud to continue for the time being.

He told the club’s official website: “I think having an opportunity to play up front played a part. Saying that, I don’t feel we should change it at the moment with Olivier doing so well there.

Arsenal’s recent elimination from the Champions League signalled an eighth successive year without silverware for the club, prompting speculation over Arsene Wenger’s continuing suitability for the job.

But Walcott has backed his manager to remain in charge, underlining the positive impact he has had at the club and on the players.

He continued: “The manager obviously knows what’s best for the team, but it’s nice having more opportunities to show what I can do up front. The boss has always had so much belief in me from a young age, but we haven’t won anything for a long time now, so we want to pay him back by winning something.

“If we don’t perform he always takes it back on himself, but at times it’s not fair because we’re the players that go out there and do it. He definitely lets us know when we are not performing though, which is the right way to do it. He’s a great manager and I’ve learned so much from him over the years.

“We should be competing for the Premier League every year, without a doubt. That’s the first priority. The FA Cup too – we should be going very far every single year. Capital One Cup, Champions League – every competition we should be competing, as long as we believe that we can.”

Walcott also revealed he keen to continue hitting the back of the net and add to his 18 goals in all competitions so far this season.

He added: “I wanted 20 goals in all competitions, so I may have to set another target! But I also wanted between 15 and 20 Premier League goals, and I’m on 11 at the moment.

“Assists are a bonus, but for a wide man, the number of goals I’ve got so far is definitely better than I would’ve thought.”

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