Walcott, 27, found the back of the net on Saturday — his third goal in six Premier League matches this season — as the Gunners beat Chelsea 3-0 to record their first win over their London rivals since 2011.
The England international endured a disappointing 2015-16 campaign, often finding himself on the Arsenal bench and missing out on a place at Euro 2016, but Wenger feels he has put such disappointments behind him and developed into a more complete player.
“He’s matured,” Wenger is quoted as saying by The Times. “When a player survives this type of disappointment from what was promised for him at 16 [when he first burst onto the scene], the way he dealt with the situation I always felt there was something special in this guy.
“He’s intelligent, Theo. He assesses well his own performances. He’s 27, it’s a very important age.
“He used to be 90 percent forward and 10 percent defending. Today he’s 50-50. He does the job both ways and he does it with commitment.
“I always felt there’s character and intelligence in this boy. He’s a guy with a good assessment of his performances and qualities. I said at the start of the season that we’d see a different Theo Walcott. I could see he made a decision and sticks to it.”
Walcott’s international career has been littered with disappointments and Wenger admits they have taken their toll on the player.
“What was a big blow for him was not to go to the Euros [in the summer],” Wenger said. “He went at 16 to the World Cup in 2006 [and didn’t play]. He was not picked for 2010 [and was injured in 2014]. We are now at 2016 and he hasn’t been to another World Cup.”
A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morganview all posts by: Nana Kwesi Coomson
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