3 Apr 2015

Arsene Wenger worried about Theo Walcott

Arsene Wenger admits he is concerned Theo Walcott’s confidence is plummeting after his struggles with England this week.

The Arsenal manager will have a heart-to-heart chat with the forward ahead of Saturday’s crunch top-four clash against Liverpool.

Walcott was hauled off after 55 minutes of England’s 1-1 draw in Italy on Tuesday night.

It was the latest disappointment in a difficult season for the 26-year-old, who has struggled for game time since returning from a long-term lay-off due to a serious knee injury.

With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain out of Liverpool’s visit due to a hamstring strain, and Danny Welbeck a major doubt after sustaining a knee problem on international duty, Walcott could start on Saturday.
But Wenger said: ‘Yes, I’m worried about Theo’s confidence. He’s sensitive and I’m a bit concerned about the damage that game can have on his mind.

‘He’s not completely there yet (after the injury). But being exposed like that, people have a harsh judgement on him that is not deserved because he does well.

‘At the moment he is frustrated, but that is normal. I will speak with him, but I think he is strong enough.

‘I will see what state of mind he is in. We always have a word, if it is a positive experience or a negative experience, you ask “how did it go?”. We always speak about the last game.

‘He is not fragile mentally, he is strong mentally but he is disappointed because when you come back from an injury you always think you are ready.

‘He needs patience. He is at the moment not in his best mood.

‘He has big confidence in himself and he has gone through some difficult periods in his life and he has always come out with strength.’
Credit: Sami Mokbel/SportsMail

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