Theo Walcott knows it is now or never time as the Arsenal and England forward approaches the “golden age” of his career - a time for which fatherhood has given him a new outlook on his career.

Nine years have passed since Arsenal signed the precocious teenager from Southampton and now, aged 26, he is approaching what should be his peak.

Walcott has shown flashes of brilliance over that period, yet accepts he needs to do that on a far more consistent basis for club and, in particular, country. Arsene Wenger certainly seems confident that the forward will iron out that inconsistency, with the Arsenal manager having noticed an improvement in the player’s finishing as he approaches his “golden age”.

“I think this sort of age is where you push on, without a doubt,” Walcott said, speaking ahead of England’s friendly in Ireland. “Turning my Arsenal form into England is the next big step for me personally. “There have been patches but it hasn’t been at a consistent level and I know that in myself - I don’t need any of you guys to tell me that.

“It is a gradual process but in these years now, if I want to be one of the greater players, obviously I need to perform for England and Arsenal on a consistent basis.” The recent signs are certainly positive, with Walcott’s gradual recovery from a ruptured cruciate ligament accelerating markedly in recent weeks.

A hat-trick against West Brom in the final league game of the season was rewarded with a start in last weekend’s FA Cup final - faith he rewarded by scoring the opening goal in what ended up a 4-0 win against Aston Villa. The Wembley triumph was particularly sweet for Walcott considering his injury problems and the kind of display which makes him confident the best years lie ahead.

“I believe so,” he said. “I’ve reached 300 appearances for Arsenal - not just any club but a top club like Arsenal, which is a great achievement. “And 38 caps for England - or 37 is it? - at 26 - that’s why I want to get the England thing the way I’ve been playing for Arsenal.

“You’ve seen patches of it and I just need to be a bit more consistent now.” Walcott admits the end of the season comes as a blessing and a curse given his current form, just like last year’s serious knee injury.

The forward was clearly devastated to miss last summer’s World Cup and a huge chunk of game time, but it did allow him to spend time with new-born son, Finley. Walcott’s 14-month-old is already impressing with the ball at his feet - proved by a video which led Wenger to jokingly ask who his agent was - and fatherhood has given the forward a new perspective on his career.

“It’s made me think a lot more,” he said. “Family is so important. It’s something special when it happens. I’m speechless every time I see him, he’s unbelievable. “I’m going into games thinking a bit differently as well, as in ‘I’m going to do it for you’.

I’ve never had that before. “Obviously I’ve always wanted to do it for the fans and the family, but when there’s part of you there it’s different. And you just don’t want to let your little dude down.”.. 8/6/15

  • Date of Birth:16 Mar 1989 (Age 26)
  • Place of Birth:Stanmore
  • Nationality:England
  • Height:176 cm.
  • Weight:68 Kg.
  • Position:Striker
  • Squad Number:14

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Theo Walcott insists his contract situation at Arsenal will not be a distraction on the pitch as he prepares for an England double-header.

Walcott enjoyed a fine end to the season at the Emirates Stadium, bagging a hat-trick in a 4-1 rout of West Brom on the final day before opening the scoring in the 4-0 demolition of Aston Villa in the FA Cup final.

The 26-year-old expects his future at Arsenal to be resolved and is relaxed about the situation ahead of matches against Republic of Ireland and Slovenia.

"My club future is absolutely fine. I've been playing and wanting to play well for the club. Now I'm concentrating on England," he told The Daily Mail.

"When it comes to the contract, that's something I'll deal with after. I think it's important to concentrate on the now and these things in the future will get sorted I'm sure. I'll just leave my agent to deal with that."

Walcott spent the best part of the year on the sidelines after suffering a serious knee injury against Tottenham in an FA Cup fixture in January 2014 and is revelling in his return to form.

"I am buzzing. I scored a goal in an FA Cup final and the manager [Arsene Wenger] had the faith to play me up front, so there's no reason not to be positive," he added.

"I've taken a slow start getting back, but when you are out for such a long time it's always going to take a while.

"I was quite patient, waiting for my opportunity, and when I got it I managed to take it. The manager then continued to show faith in me by playing me up top."

Theo Walcott is confident his Arsenal future "will get resolved" after helping fire the Gunners to FA Cup glory at Wembley.... 


The England forward joined the rest of the squad for Sunday's open-top bus parade around the streets of Highbury and Islington following the 4-0 victory over Aston Villa.

Walcott, who scored Arsenal's first goal just before half-time, will head off on international duty next week, with talks over a contract extension with his representatives set to resume later in the summer.

"I am sure things will get resolved. I just want to enjoy today," he said. "I have got England coming up and then we can think about that process, but it will take time, I am sure." Thousands of Arsenal fans braved the rain to cheer the squad from the Emirates Stadium to a civic reception at Islington Town Hall, celebrating the club's record 12th FA Cup victory after successfully retaining the trophy.

"We just showed it has been a great success this year, it has been a step up, to finish third (in the Premier League) and win the FA Cup in consecutive years. We want more and more of this," Walcott added.

"These players have the trust in each other and this has got to be a stepping stone now to challenge for the title, because this is what all of these fans dream of.

Theo Walcott believes his future at the club will be resolved soon and says their FA Cup win has to be a stepping stone to greater success

The Gunners retained the FA Cup with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Tim Sherwood's Aston Villa and the 26-year-old, who has been linked with a move to Liverpool and Chelsea, says he feels he'll sign new terms this summer.

Speaking at the club's trophy parade on Sunday, he told reporters: "I'm sure things will get resolved [over a new contract]. I just want to enjoy today. 

"I've obviously got England coming up and then I'm sure we can think about that process. It'll take time.

"I have the belief in this team, the manager does. Each player's got to trust in each other now as well. This has got to be a stepping stone even more so now to challenge for the title. That's the ultimate goal. That's what everyone wants. These fans; we need to do it for them. They've been waiting a long time and they enjoy these moments like every player does.

"I haven't really watched it [his FA Cup final goal]. I have recorded it at home. I'm sure me and the old man and my family will be watching it quite a lot."

Walcott followed up his hat-trick against West Brom last weekend with the opening goal against Aston Villa on Saturday as Arsenal cruised to their 12th FA Cup win. 

And the former Southampton youngster paid tribute to the club's supporters as he spoke of another year of improvement under Arsene Wenger. 

"I can't thank the fans enough," he added. "They made this happen. The players, everyone that's taken part in the FA Cup final has contributed. 

"We just showed it's been a great success this year. It's been a step up. To finish third and win the FA Cup in consecutive years. We want more and more of this.

"Even with the weather being terrible, as you would expect [the fans have turned out for the parade]. It just shows the amount of support we have, across the whole country and across the world. It's amazing to see. I can't thank them enough."

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