Theo Walcott completes 45 minutes for Arsenal Under-21s on his return from injury

Serge Gnabry also makes his return from long-term injury to boost Gunners

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The Independent Football

Theo Walcott made his long awaited return to action on Friday night as he completed 45 minutes for Arsenal’s Under-21s.

Walcott has been out for more than nine months after he suffered cruciate ligament damage against Tottenham in January.

The England forward started the goalless draw with Blackburn before being replaced at half-time.

Despite being taken off at the break, he, Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal fans will be happy with his comeback performance at Meadow Park.

After the match, Walcott told Sky Sports News: "It's been a hard, long, nine months and first I've got to say a massive thank you to all the Arsenal medical team. Without them, and my family behind me, I wouldn't have been able to do what I've done.

Theo Walcott looked very pleased to back playing again

"I've had so much support - messages - right from the start of the injury. It's just nice to go out there and, you know, kick a ball and enjoy doing it. It's not just a job, it's something I enjoy doing. I thoroughly missed it and I just want to get back fit. It looked very good tonight, very pleased.

Theo Walcott played 45 minutes on his return from injury

"I always need to just go out there and play the best I can. I don't even think about anything like injuries or little knocks. When the adrenaline's in your system you don't even think about that, you just think about the game and that's all I did tonight, so I got through it fine."

Serge Gnabry also made his return from injury

Arsenal had further reason to be cheerful after Serge Gnabry, himself out since March with a knee injury, also made a successful return to action.