Hodgson has made me a better player, says England forward Walcott

Theo Walcott has revealed that England manager Roy Hodgson has made him a better player by helping him lose the timid side of his character, the Daily Telegraph has reported.

Walcott, set to win his 35th international cap when England face Moldova at Wembley on Friday, believes Hodgson has been instrumental in the good form he has shown for club and country over the past year or more. The Arsenal forward added that Hodgson made him feel part of the England set-up whereas before, he was unable to feel comfortable when on international duty.

I feel like I should be here,” Walcott said. “Maybe a few years ago I was always a bit timid but I feel like this is where I should be,” he continued. “I enjoy working with the manager. He has so much faith in me as well.

I am starting to show that belief in myself as well. I am actually performing like I do for Arsenal. I am enjoying every single minute of it.

Walcott was a surprise inclusion in England’s squad for the 2006 World Cup but missed out on the party that went to the tournament four years later as he struggled to establish himself under Fabio Capello. But since Hodgson replaced the Italian ahead of Euro 2012, Walcott has featured on a regular basis.

It is great when the manager picks you. You know you deserve to be here as one of the best 23 guys in England,” Walcott said.

The main thing for me now is staying fit. There was a time that whenever I came away with England I used to get an injury but that hasn’t happened for a while.

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