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Wenger still sees Walcott as a forward

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has insisted Theo Walcott still has a role to play up front, despite reverting to a wide position last season.

The England international had hoped for an opportunity to impress his club boss as a forward at the beginning of last term, but soon lost his place to Olivier Giroud.

However, Wenger has praised Walcott's qualities as a central attacker and suggested his days as a winger could be over.

"I believe [Walcott] has all the ingredients to be a great striker," he told the media.

"He has the quality of his runs, he's a very intelligent player, he's a good finisher. He's not a great defender so to use his runs in the final third for us could be very efficient.

"On the flank today so much defensive work is asked of the players. You lose a lot of his qualities when you put him there.

"I don't really doubt that for me, in my head I will use him more up front."

And, though the former Southampton man scored only five goals in the Premier League in 2015-16, Wenger has defended his performances.

"Especially one game that was a question for Theo Walcott was at Man United [a 3-2 defeat in February], where everyone questioned him in his position," the Frenchman added.

"Because on the day he didn't perform well. But it was not only Theo Walcott who didn't have a great game, it was everybody. But from then on people became sceptical."