Walcott believes he has earned Arsenal start after Champions League goal

Theo Walcott feels the goal he scored against Schalke in the Champions League should see him returned to the Arsenal starting XI on a regular basis, the Daily Telegraph has reported.

Walcott had fallen out of favour under Arsene Wenger, with the England international’s spell on the sidelines coinciding with his decision not to sign an extension to his Arsenal contract, with his current deal expiring next summer.

The forward declined to say if he believed the two were connected, but did claim that having opened the scoring for his side, he had proved he does not belong on the bench. Walcott added: “I just want to play – hopefully now I can get a run in the team because I feel I fully deserve it.

Wenger was fulsome in his praise for Walcott after the match, which ended in a 2-2 draw after Olivier Giroud added to Walcott’s goal, only for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Jefferson Farfan to level the scores.

The manager had little choice but to call on Walcott to start the game after a series of injuries left his forward options severely depleted. Wenger was without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho, while Aaron Ramsey, usually a central midfielder but deployed on the right of the attack by Wenger in recent fixtures, was also missing.

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