Wenger keen to guide Walcott through 'golden age'

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has again insisted he wants to keep Theo Walcott, claiming the forward is approaching the peak of his powers.

Arsene Wenger is keen to utilise Theo Walcott at the peak of his powers as he approaches a "golden age" with Arsenal.

Walcott has been limited to just 21 appearances since the start of last season due to a string of injuries.

The England international's contract expires at the end of next season, with reports suggesting he may be forced to leave the Emirates Stadium if he cannot force his way back into Wenger's thinking.

However, the Arsenal boss has swatted aside any claims of letting Walcott go, and he is instead determined to finally extract the attacker's full potential.

"I bought him at Southampton when he was 17 because I believe in his qualities as a good finisher and the timing of his runs are very intelligent," Wenger said.

"He's at the best age now. Being 26 to 32 as a striker is the best age as a striker and I wouldn't like to miss that golden age.

"I think his position will be striker. I work with him in both situations, as a striker and as a wide player. But the quality of the runs is so fantastic with the pace he has. When he was younger he was rushing his finishing but he is a good finisher now.

"He can be transformed. He is naturally gifted to play in this position but he has different qualities. 

"Olivier Giroud has a physical presence, back to goal, can head the ball. Theo is more a guy who is a runner, who goes behind.

"He loves the club and I think he wants to stay. Of the whole squad he is the player who has played the most games for us. 

"Nobody has played more for us than Theo. He has played 202 [Premier League] games and that means he is part of us."