Walcott eyes injury-free season

Jim van Wijk,Press Association
Friday 02 July 2010 14:09
Walcott had an injury ravaged season
Walcott had an injury ravaged season

Theo Walcott is desperate to have an injury-free season to show just what he can do - both for Arsenal and England.

The 21-year-old was a shock omission from Fabio Capello's final 23-man squad for South Africa.

However, after the Three Lions' wretched World Cup campaign, the Gunners forward looks set to be brought back into the fold for the Euro 2012 qualifiers this Autumn.

Walcott was part of the Under-21 squad which reached the final of their European Championship campaign during the summer of 2009, which less than impressed Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who warned of player burnout.

The pacy forward, who had suffered a dislocated shoulder while training with the England senior team for a friendly against Germany during November 2008, would go onto make only 15 starts for the Gunners last season as his progress was indeed checked by a string of niggling injury problems.

However, after an unexpected extended summer break, Walcott cannot wait to get back into action as Arsenal look to end a five-season trophy drought.

"Last season was a disappointment, personally, with the amount of injuries I have had," Walcott told Arsenal TV Online.

"Hopefully I can have an injury-free season - that is my first target, and to try and help this team win something.

"I think it is difficult to have a whole season without any injuries, but that is football and we have got to live with that.

"I will just be trying to concentrate on having a better season than last year, because it was a disappointment not to play as much as I wanted to."

Walcott added: "Hopefully I can give something more to the fans this year.

"We want to win something now instead of using the excuse that we are young players.

"We were very close [to winning a trophy].

"We always tend to be that touching distance, but we have dropped quite a lot of points where we should not have."

Arsenal's first pre-season fixture is at north-London neighbours Barnet on July 17, but those players who have been away at the World Cup are set to be given some extra time off.

Wenger will then take the squad away on their traditional Austria training camp, which will include a game against Sturm Graz, before returning ahead of the Emirates Cup, when Arsenal host AC Milan and Celtic with a final warm-up game at Legia Warsaw on August 7.

By then, Wenger - whose side open their Barclays Premier League campaign with the small matter of a trip to Anfield - will hope to have all his transfer business complete.

It remains to be seen whether captain Cesc Fabregas will remain, as new Barcelona president Sandro Rosell looks set to renew their interest in the Spain midfielder with a £40millon offer.

German starlet Mesut Ozil has been touted as a possible replacement, along with £22million-rated French midfielder Yoann Gourcuff.

England international Joe Cole is now a free agent after his contract with Chelsea expired and Wenger has been expected to move for the 28-year-old, which could then lead to the departure of Czech winger Tomas Rosicky.

Lorient defender Laurent Koscielny is reported to be close to a £10m switch to Emirates Stadium.

The future, though, of former captain Sol Campbell is unclear, with the veteran defender weighing up offers from both the Gunners and Celtic.

Fellow centre-backs William Gallas and Mickael Silvestre, however, do look set to leave at the end of their contracts.

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