Arsenal forward Theo Walcott believes his omission from England's World Cup squad this summer is behind his blistering start to the Premier League season.
The 21-year-old was left out of Fabio Capello's 23-man party to travel to South Africa, leaving the ex-Southampton youngster to fully focus on his own career development during the close season.
And after helping himself to a hat-trick in Arsenal's 6-0 romp over Premier League newcomers Blackpool last weekend, Walcott reckons the break from football is responsible for his resurgent start to the season.
"I had a nice break, mentally, through the summer so I could think about things and am pushing on now," the England forward said.
"I am 21, so I want to play games every week now, it is a big season for me.
"I have been very unlucky with injuries last season and I am looking out for myself a bit more now. I am one of the last to leave now, always staying behind after training, practising things... crosses and set-pieces.
"It is down to me, so I will look after myself and am raring to go now."
Walcott was brought to Emirates Stadium for an estimated £12 million in 2006 after demonstrating his potential as a pacy forward for Southampton in the Championship.
Despite Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger largely utilising his pace on the wing, Walcott hopes Wenger is priming him for a more central role in the same way he transformed Thierry Henry from a flying winger into one of the world's deadliest strikers.
"I will happily play anywhere for Arsenal - there is a lot of competition up front now with Marouane [Chamakh] and Robin [van Persie], so as long as I provide goals and pop up with a goal now and then I'm happy with that.
"But if the boss wants me to play up front I'm buzzing from that. I am working in training up front so I'll go from there."
By James Martinicomments