Walcott craves a more central role for Gunners, not an increased salary


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The Independent Online

Theo Walcott yesterday insisted that football concerns, rather than financial ones, are at the heart of his contract stand-off with Arsenal. The 23-year-old winger was keen to differentiate himself from recent high-profile Arsenal departures; he said he was not a "typical footballer", and that unlike some he has always wanted to stay.

"I'm not the sort of person who tends to be that sort of typical footballer, that goes after the money," Walcott said. "It is all about the football, I have always made decisions about the football."

Walcott's particular issue is that, after spending most of his six Arsenal seasons on the right wing, he wants to play as a striker. "It is a case of having trust in me up front," he said. "I was signed as a striker and it is about time, I want to play up front. I am desperate for it."

Having started only one game so far this season, Walcott wants to play again and would appreciate the chance to do so up front in the Capital One Cup against Coventry City tomorrow night. "Hopefully, I will get the chance to play up front because I know what I can do," he said, at the launch of the Football Association's and Mars' Just Play Free For One Week campaign. "It is the manager's decision and I will always respect that."

While many players have left Arsenal to earn more money in recent years, Walcott said that was not his intention.

"When I first joined Arsenal there were other opportunities there, which I turned down," he said. "This summer there were other opportunities to go, so if it was about money I would have gone. I have always wanted to stay.

"Hopefully, something can be agreed, like I have always said. But it takes time, it is one of these things that is not going to happen overnight. Hopefully, something can be sorted out but if it doesn't I will be disappointed, I can't lie. It would be a shame, but you just have to move on and accept it.

"Hopefully it won't come to that, hopefully we can get something resolved because I love the club."