Walcott: my dream is to play up front for England

Theo Walcott reveals it is his “dream” to play up front for England, and wants the chance to prove himself as the focal point of Roy Hodgson’s side after showing prolific form for Arsenal this season.

The 23-year-old scored a stunning goal to give the Gunners a valuable point against Liverpool in a 2-2 draw on Wednesday evening, and took his tally to 18 in 29 appearances during this campaign.

And the former Southampton winger revealed his delight in being able to bring other players into the game along the front line, though he admits he still has to learn how to hold the ball up effectively to be a top striker.

“It would be a dream to play up front for England, but, ­obviously, the manager makes the ­decisions,” he told talkSPORT.

“It’s an option for the ­manager, who has probably seen me play a few times for Arsenal up front now. It’s something different that we might not have had before, making runs in ­behind.

“I just love playing up front, you can wander around anywhere,” he added. “Not just that, you can create more space for other players when you are quiet and go through patches in the game. ­Defenders are always wary of my pace and going in behind.”

Walcott already has seven more goals than he scored last season, having played 17 games fewer, underlining his more direct approach during the 2012-13 campaign.

And while he also has an impressive assists tally of 11 this year – already one better than last season – he admits the next step in his development is to learn to shield the ball and keep possession up front.

He continued: “Now, I’ve just got to learn the other side of it as well, when it is not going too well.

“I am not going to be the best guy to hold it up at times, but that is something I am ­practising in training. I always practice scoring goals and the next thing is to practice holding the ball up.”

Walcott also recently committed his future to the club with a new deal after speculation mounted that he would move away from the Emirates Stadium in order to play in his preferred striking role.

On Saturday a late Lukas Podolski goal saw Arsene Wenger’s team beat Stoke 1-0 to close to within one point of rivals Tottenham in fourth place, although Andre Villas-Boas side have a game in hand over the Gunners.

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