Wenger still views Walcott as a striker

Despite the former Southampton man insisting his best position is on the wing, the Arsenal boss thinks differently and has vowed to use him through the middle more often

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has insisted he still believes Theo Walcott is a striker and has vowed to use him up top more often this season.

Walcott, who has spent the large majority of his Arsenal career on the right wing, initially claimed his best position was through the middle.

However, the 27-year-old has since done a u-turn, stating that he feels his qualities are best served out wide.

But Wenger has praised Walcott’s skill set and suggested his days as a winger could be over.

“I believe [Walcott] has all the ingredients to be a great striker,” he told the media after Arsenal’s 8-0 win over Viking in pre-season.

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“He has the quality of his runs, he’s a very intelligent player, he’s a good finisher. He’s not a great defender so to use his runs in the final third for us could be very efficient.

“On the flank today so much defensive work is asked of the players. You lose a lot of his qualities when you put him there.

“I don’t really doubt that for me, in my head I will use him more up front.”

And although former Southampton man Walcott only scored five goals in the Premier League in 2015-16, Wenger has defended his performances up front.

“Especially one game that was a question for Theo Walcott was at Man United [a 3-2 defeat in February], where everyone questioned him in his position,” the Frenchman added.

“Because on the day he didn’t perform well. But it was not only Theo Walcott who didn’t have a great game, it was everybody. But from then on people became sceptical.”

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