Walcott: I need to be more selfish

Walcott produced a stunning individual display with a hat-trick as
Premier League newboys Blackpool were ripped apart 6-0 at Emirates
Stadium on Saturday. The 21-year-old was a controversial omission
from Fabio Capello’s ill-fated World Cup squad, only to be welcomed
back into the England fold following the dismal display in South
Africa. Despite now winning the plaudits the former Southampton
trainee knows there is plenty of hard work still ahead. “I had a
nice break, mentally, through the summer so I could think about
things and am pushing on now,” said Walcott, who has seen his
progress hampered by a string of niggling fitness issues. “I am 21,
so I want to play games every week now, it is a big season for me.
“I have been very unlucky with injuries last season and I am
looking out for myself a bit more now. “I am one of the last to
leave now, always staying behind after training, practising things
… crosses and set-pieces. “It is down to me, so I will look after
myself and am raring to go now.” Walcott’s hat-trick was his first
for Arsenal, having netted a famous treble for England in their
World Cup qualifying victory away to Croatia during September 2008.
Summer signing Marouane Chamakh also got his account up and running
with a late header, while Robin van Persie was, along with captain
Cesc Fabregas, brought off the bench for the last half-hour. Wenger
sees Walcott eventually developing into a central striker’s role.
For now, though, the 21-year-old maintains: “I will happily play
anywhere for Arsenal – there is a lot of competition up front now
with Marouane and Robin, so as long as I provide goals and pop up
with a goal now and then I’m happy with that. “But if the boss
wants me to play up front I’m buzzing from that. I am working in
training up front so I’ll go from there.” Arsenal briefly topped
the fledgling Premier League table on Saturday, before champions
Chelsea chalked up their second successive 6-0 victory of the new
campaign. Walcott, though, feels if everyone can stay out of the
treatment room, then the Gunners will be a force to be reckoned
with over the next nine months. “We have so many fantastic players
and as long as we keep them all fit, we are going to be very
strong,” he said. “However, we will not get ahead of ourselves. We
want to be winning these games and the most important thing is how
we react to Blackburn next week, an early kick off. “They are the
games we need to be winning, the games that might have let us down
last season so that’s where we will show our characters.”