Arsenal News and Rumours: Theo Walcott Believes Thierry Henry Helped Him Turn Into a Better Player

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Feb 05, 2013 12:17 AM EST
Theo Walcott Olivier Giroud Arsenal
Arsenal forward Theo Walcott celebrates with teammate Olivier Giroud after scoring against Newcastle in their English Premier League game, December 29"


Theo Walcott has looked a different player this season, putting away most of his chances and visibly turning into a more well-rounded forward.

One man -Thierry Henry -- might be given some of the credit for giving Walcott that confidence so essential in a striker.

Walcott revealed a conversation with the Arsenal legend during his stint at London Colney last month was hugely beneficial.

"It's probably the best hour and half I've ever had," Walcott said. "I just went up to him. I didn't expect it to be that long but I am glad it was.

"You learn a lot when you talk to someone with that much experience. It was about all sorts of stuff and maybe one day I'll come out with it.

"But it meant a lot and it's only going to make you get better."

Arsene Wenger said earlier, Henry was giving a few lessons in finishing to Walcott, and it is clear that it has made a huge difference, with the 23-year-old Arsenal's top scorer in the season so far.

What has also been markedly different from the previous seasons, has been Walcott's strength in play and his ability to find the right runs as well as stand up and deliver when his team needs a scorer.

Walcott was one of the standout players for Arsenal in the 1-0 victory over Stoke - a game in which he played on the right wing - giving fullback Andy Wilkinson a torrid time, which resulted in the Arsenal forward receiving a long scar across his eye.

"I think it was Wilkinson -- it must have been an accident, might been hand and nails," Walcott said.

"He stopped me -- quite a lot. But there were loads of things happening off the ball which the linesmen and referees didn't see.

"A few people have said it makes me look a little bit harder.

"But I honestly don't believe that because I am the biggest softy of them all."

Soft Walcott might be outside the pitch, but on numerous occasions this season, the England international has shown he has become a man on the pitch, something that Wenger himself acknowledged.

One of the primary reasons for the turnaround might be the fact that Walcott has been given an opportunity to prove himself as a center-forward - a role he has been craving for the last few seasons.

"I didn't expect it to go as well as it has," Walcott added. "I thought it would take a few games to get used to it because I hadn't played there for seven years.

"I have done it in training but matches are totally different. Of course there were nerves and a lot of pressure but when you are demanding to play in a certain role you need to perform."

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