Reading 2 Arsenal 5: Walcott looks ready to play up front, says Wenger

Reading 2 Arsenal 5: Arsene Wenger believes Theo Walcott could be ready for a sustained run as a striker for the Gunners

Reading
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Arsenal
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Arsene Wenger believes Theo Walcott is ready to stake his claim as an out-and-out striker after helping Arsenal to victory at Reading on Monday.

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Walcott was deployed as Wenger’s first-choice front-man at the Madejski and netted the Gunners’ fifth goal as they ran out 5-2 winners thanks to Lukas Podolski’s opener and a Santi Cazorla hat-trick.

The England international has made no secret of his desire to play through the middle – and Wenger says he gave the 23-year-old a chance to prove himself after a string of impressive displays in training.

“If you look at my statements two years ago, I said he will play in the middle,” said Wenger of Walcott. “I think slowly it became his idea as well.

“I felt it was a good opportunity to do it tonight. On what I’ve seen in training, I thought he was ready to do it.”

Asked if Walcott is likely to play up front at Wigan on Saturday, Wenger replied: “I don’t know yet. It’s too early to say that just after the game.”

Monday’s convincing victory helped Arsenal bounce back from their shock Capital One Cup exit at the hands of Bradford City last week.

And the Gunners boss was thrilled with his side’s response to a defeat that had put his position under intense scrutiny.

“The target was to win and we won in a convincing way,” said Wenger, whose side move up to fifth in the Premier League table. “You can only give one answer – on the pitch. Success came with the quality of our game.

“We played and didn’t bother about the rest. We focused on the quality of our game and played. I think it was in continuity of the game we played against West Brom. That’s what we did again tonight.”

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