Carling Cup could be first trophy of many for Arsenal says Walcott

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The Independent Football

Arsenal winger Theo Walcott hopes success in the Carling Cup will spark a trophy frenzy at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners' failure to win any silverware since 2005 has prompted Arsene Wenger to reassess the importance of the competition.

Wenger selected some of his more seasoned campaigners for last night's 4-0 victory at Newcastle as the club claimed a place in the quarter-finals for an eighth successive season.

The Frenchman has traditionally viewed the Carling Cup as an opportunity to test his youngsters, but his change in policy has the approval of Walcott.

"This is a great opportunity for us to win the Carling Cup. We want to win trophies," Walcott told Arsenal TV Online.

"People might say it's the Mickey Mouse cup and stuff like that but for me, personally, it's a trophy.

"Our fans have been desperate for us to win a trophy and the players have as well.

"Hopefully we can win the Carling Cup and it will be one of many.

"If we continue to play football like that it's looking bright for us.

"We take every game seriously but we're getting better with the experience we have now.

"To win 4-0 at Newcastle is a great confidence booster."

Walcott was instrumental in the romp at St James' Park, showing his trademark pace and a clinical touch in a performance that will have delighted Wenger and England coach Fabio Capello in equal measure.

It was the 21-year-old's first start since early September after recovering from an ankle injury.

Walcott's finishing has been criticised in the past, but he hopes he may be beginning to win over the doubters after striking five goals in six appearances for Arsenal this season.

"I've practised a lot in training for six weeks. Against Newcastle hopefully I've showed people what I can do," he said.

"I want to take that into Saturday's game against West Ham.

"I've been on the goalsheet a bit more often and hopefully that can continue.

"It was great to get 90 minutes against Newcastle. It was a boost fitness-wise.

"I didn't think my injury would be that bad - I thought it would mean being out for a couple of weeks, not six.

"I've been more down in the dumps over past injuries but this time I was happier and just wanted to get back as soon as possible.

"Injuries are always frustrating but you can't help them - mine was a freak accident.

"It's in the past and hopefully I'll continue to have a good season."

Walcott was a high-profile omission from England's World Cup squad but the jet-heeled winger insists he may have benefited from missing out on South Africa.

"A lot of people have said that not going to the World Cup was good for me mentally and physically," he said.

"It meant I had my first pre-season since joining Arsenal - my first proper one anyway."

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