Arsenal news: Manchester United legend Roy Keane says Theo Walcott 'needs to relax' and tells fans not to get excited

The Republic of Ireland assistant manager enjoyed a strong rivalry with the north London outfit during his 12 years at Old Trafford

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The Independent Football

Ex-Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane has told in-form Theo Walcott to “calm down” and predicted Arsenal players will be wearing gloves when “the cold nights come in”.

The Republic of Ireland assistant manager enjoyed a ferocious rivalry with the north London outfit during his 12 years at Old Trafford and says he “wouldn’t get carried away” with Walcott’s recent spike in form.

Walcott scored both goals as Arsenal dispensed with Basel to go top of Group A in the Champions League but Keane says the England international will only prove himself on the big stage if he can repeat the feat over several seasons. 

He told ITV Sport: “It’s took him a while to get settled. Listen he’s had a good week. The guy needs to relax. Try to play well for the next seven or eight months.

“Tonight was a lovely game for Arsenal. When they’re in that form and have that amount of possession, they’re great to watch – they could’ve seven, eight, nine goals easily.

“But the crunch games are still to come for them, when the cold nights come in, with half the Arsenal players with their gloves on, so I wouldn’t be getting carried away with Walcott.

“He scored some lovely goals tonight, with the simplicity of his movement, it was outstanding, but he’s got to do it over the course the next year or two.”

Co-pundit Lee Dixon heaped praise on Walcott and offered a more optimistic perspective, however, and backed the former Southampton winger to continue his form over the Christmas period. 

“There’s no doubt that some players mature at different levels,” the 52-year-old said. “He’s 27 now and it’s been a while. I’ve been critical about him in the past. Sometimes, he’s not worked out in training how to shift players around.

“Saturday and tonight he was unplayable. He seems like he’s turned into a different player.”

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