Theo Walcott wants starting spot in Arsenal team


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The Independent Football

Theo Walcott hopes he can establish himself back in the Arsenal starting line-up after helping to secure a Champions League point at Schalke last night.

The 23-year-old overcame illness to feature in the 2-2 draw in Germany, opening the scoring in what was his first start for the Gunners in the Premier or Champions League since late August.

Walcott is in the final season of his deal at the Emirates Stadium and his lack of game time has coincided with contract talks stalling.

The former Southampton attacker, though, was just pleased to have recovered to play his part in Gelsenkirchen.

"I didn't wake up great on Monday, my voice is coming back now but I didn't have one at all," Walcott said.

"It is nice to be back playing with the guys, that is all I want to be doing now.

"It is going to be a tough month for us. It is going to test us all, not just physically but mentally as well and I think we are ready for it."

That period sees rivals Tottenham come to the Emirates Stadium in the league, as well as two decisive Champions League fixtures.

Arsenal would have gone into their next match Group B match with Montpellier in charge had they not surrendered a two-goal lead last night.

Walcott gave his side the lead after 16 minutes and the Gunners doubled their advantage eight minutes later through Olivier Giroud's superb diving header.

The goals were against the run of play, however, and Klaas Jan Huntelaar's strike on the stroke of half-time and Jefferson Farfan's deflected effort meant Arsenal left Germany with just a point.

"When you come to a difficult place with a difficult atmosphere against good team that beat us at home, [it was great] to get the two early goals," Walcott said.

"It is just a shame we couldn't kill it off.

"It was a good point in the end. Schalke came at us in the second half and we found it difficult to be honest.

"But we dug deep and before the game we probably would have taken a point, so this is a good result."

Things could have been much different for Arsenal had Walcott better connected with an effort deep into stoppage time.

"Just at the end it got caught under my feet and I couldn't get it out, which is why I could do my favourite finish," he said.

"It was just one of those things, I will bounce back on Saturday."