Walcott: I deserve a starting spot
By Football News
Theo Walcott insist he 'fully deserves' a place in Arsenal's first-team after scoring in Tuesday's 2-2 Champions League draw against Schalke.
Walcott has been in great form since his return from injury, scoring a hat-trick in the north Londoners' 7-5 win over Reading in the League Cup last week, and has made it known in the past that he wants to be considered as a central striker, with manager Arsene Wenger intimating that he would get his chance.
However, with his contract running out at the end of the season and talks stalling over a new deal, Walcott has found himself restricted to starting from the bench for the majority of the campaign - but he says he just wants to get on the pitch and help the team try to win the Premier League.
"I just want to play, that's the main thing," Walcott said after helping Arsenal to a draw that kept them in second place in their Champions League group.
"Hopefully I can just have a run in the team because I think I fully deserve it. I just want to play for this team and hopefully this team can win the Premier League this year."
When pressed on whether his contract situation had anything to do with his diminished role this year, he replied: "You have to ask the manager that question to be honest, I can't answer that."
Walcott had a chance to win the match for the Gunners in injury time, but couldn't quite get the ball under control, but said that he was happy with a point nonetheless.
"I did all I could to be honest," he said. "The ball got stuck between my feet and I couldn't get it out. It's just one of those things, it's a good point in the end.
"It would've been a fantastic victory, Schalke dominated the second half to be honest, but defensively we were quite strong. At the start of the game we would have been happy with a point.
"We'll just try and win our last two games, that's all you can do. As long as we do that we'll get into the next (round) and that's the main (thing)."
Mikel Arteta also reflected on the draw after the Gunners were pegged back from two goals up, stating that while he would have been happy with a draw ahead of the game, losing a two-goal advantage left him less than satisfied.
"Considering that we were 2-0 down, it can't be good for us," he said. "We had the last chance with Theo as well just before the end. We were unlucky to concede the first goal a minute before half-time. But before the game, a draw here? I don't know, it's not an easy place to come.
"(Klass-Jan Huntelaar's goal before half-time) was (a hammer blow) because it's a completely different game. I think they have to start coming up earlier in the game and we could have started breaking in the second half, but as I said, that happened, it was another little mistake, but we'll take the point.
"It was tough, to be honest. They put a lot of pressure on us and we played a bit deep in the second half and we were really struggling. When we were on the break we had some chances to score, and we got a draw."