Arsene Wenger tips Theo Walcott to follow Thierry Henry by becoming a prolific striker at Arsenal
29 December 2012 07:13
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes Theo Walcott can follow in the footsteps of Thierry Henry by converting himself from a winger into a prolific striker.
Wenger has granted Walcott's request to play in a central role in recent weeks and this switch has served the Gunners well with the 23-year-old scoring twice in the 5-2 victory over Reading, and he then won the penalty in last weekend's win over Wigan.
The Arsenal boss had been reluctant to select Walcott as a striker, but he believes the England man can flourish in his preferred spot and has revealed he is taking tips from the club's record scorer Henry, who is training with the squad.
"Thierry gives him advice, which is always important and Theo is a very intelligent boy," said Wenger.
"He understands very quickly when you tell him something and that's why I think he can do very well in this position.
"I like what I have seen of Theo through the middle.
"It's an interesting challenge (for him). I think he can take it on. He is now 23. I decided to play Thierry Henry at 23 through the middle because you have to learn a lot before."
Wenger remains hopeful that Walcott will sign a new deal and denied suggestions that this positional change would help persuade him to stay at the Emirates. "No I don't think (playing him as a striker will impact on negotiations)," he said.
"I want him to stay and I want him to extend his contract and I have always been consistent on that.
"Yes (talks are ongoing) and yes (I remain optimistic he will sign)."Don't miss any live and exclusive football coverage this festive season. Click here to visit Sky Sports' Festive Calendar