• Premier League

Walcott coy on future after hat-trick heroics

ESPN staff
December 29, 2012

Theo Walcott refused to shed light on his Arsenal future after scoring his second hat-trick of the season.

Walcott took the match ball home after helping the Gunners to a 7-3 victory over Newcastle for a fourth consecutive league victory.

However, the England international's future remains uncertain with his contract set to expire at the end of the season, and he will be permitted to speak to foreign clubs when the transfer window opens on January 1.

But Walcott is confident of reaching a resolution in contract talks with the Gunners and said he will not be distracted by off-field issues.

"I will continue to play my football," Walcott told BBC Sport. "Talks are ongoing and I'm sure something will be sorted soon."

One of the sticking blocks in Walcott signing a new long-term deal with the Gunners is believed to stem around his desire to play a regular role up front instead of on the wing.

And while he insists he will do what is best for the team, he was pleased to show his talents in a forward role.

"I enjoy playing in whatever position but it was just telling the manager to give me the opportunities to play up front,'' he told ESPN. "I'm not saying I'm always going to play up front but it's just showing what I can do but hopefully I've opened a few eyes and it's just a different option. Hopefully, I can start to take it a bit more often now.''

Arsenal took a one-goal lead on three occasions against Newcastle through Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski but were pegged back on each occasion by two strikes from Demba Ba sandwiched in-between Sylvain Marveaux's tap in.

But after Walcott put the London side ahead once more, the Gunners ran riot in the final 10 minutes thanks to two goals from Olivier Giroud and a further strike from Walcott.

"It was just end-to-end and very open. When it's open it plays into my hands to be honest,'' Walcott added. "We're disappointed in the goals we conceded but to score seven, it doesn't matter how we win. As long as we get the three points. We've got a game in hand. I don't know what crisis everyone's on about.''

Meanwhile, Walcott revealed that he had received some coaching from former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry after the Frenchman began training with the club this week. Walcott is hopeful Henry will sign another short-term loan deal with the Gunners.

Walcott said: "I have learned in the years when Henry has been here, but he has started training with us as well, so just to be around him other players are going to gain more and more experience.

"He's shown what qualities he has last season, so hopefully [a loan deal] can be sorted out and [we can] learn from the best."

Arsene Wenger was thrilled with Walcott's performance, although the Frenchman hinted he is not yet ready to pick the 23-year-old in a regular striking berth.

"We cannot ask much more than three goals and the performance he gave today,'' Wenger said. "I said I'm convinced that he can play in there - he has qualities - and he can only improve the more he plays there. He can play in the other position on the left, right or through the middle and it is good because Giroud is basically a centre-forward only so I can play the two together.''

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