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.”