Wenger: Walcott top European target

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is worried that winged wonder Theo Walcott has become European football's primary target for rough and tumble treatment because of his lightning quick pace. The 20-year-old England international faces a late fitness test ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions League quarter-final tie with Villarreal at El Madrigal because of an injured right knee.

The former Southampton starlet has also been troubled by a lengthy shoulder problem this season, sustained on international duty ahead of his country's friendly with Germany last November.

And Wenger believes that should Walcott take part in the crunch European clash, he should expect heavy-handed treatment as opponents attempt to nullify his devastating speed.

“You are always worried that opponents will target a guy as quick as Theo," he said.

“It’s like a racing car. When it starts, you want to stop it before it reaches full speed.

“Theo has a direct game which makes him more attractive compared to all the players who work a short-space game. Because he is more direct, he pushes defenders back and gives us more space in midfield.”

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