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Walcott urges Arsenal to secure Champions League football: We want to be playing Barcelona and AC Milan

England international admits the Gunners have had an inconsistent campaign but is hoping to finish on a high and reveals Jack Wilshere should be back soon

Theo Walcott has urged Arsenal to finish the Premier League strongly and secure Champions League football for next season, admitting the club want to be playing the likes of Barcelona and AC Milan.

The Gunners are currently in third place in the Premier League ahead of Tottenham on goal difference, after finding themselves 12 points behind their rivals earlier this season.

The England winger believes despite their frustrating start, the team have improved and are now looking to finish the season on a high.

"I think we've had an up and down, hot and cold season," he said.

"We've peaked in the last couple of months, obviously with that run of seven wins, and I think it's been frustrating at times at other great. I think we want to go to that next level.

"We want to be in the Champions League playing against the likes of AC Milan, Barcelona, and the top four.

"We don't want the situation of [relying on other team's results], we just want to concentrate on ourselves and I think that's important.

"We'd be hurt [if we didn't finish in the top four] but that's negative thinking, we don't like to think outside the box, we like to think all positive.

"But if that did happen, you know it would be very disappointing, but us players are going to be fully committed and make sure that definitely doesn't happen."

"We want to be in the Champions League playing against the likes of AC Milan, Barcelona, and the top four"

- Theo Walcott

Walcott also stated that honesty off the pitch has helped the team advance, as well as the team's injury situation improving as the season has progressed.

He added: "I think we've had a lot more trust in each other, been more honest on the pitch and off the pitch, and I think that's helped the team.

"A lot of players have broken through and come out of their shells completely and that's been an absolute credit to them, as people and as players.

"We're getting a lot of injured players back. You know when you have Jack [Wilshere] out for the whole season it doesn't help us at all either. You want all your players fit and playing at their full potential.

"I think when you sign players it always takes a bit of time for them to settle in. The likes of Mikel Arteta and Andre Santos have just come back to fitness. Per Mertesacker's had a lot of injuries this season.

"Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has had his chance and taken it every time he plays, which is great. I would say Mikel has been fantastic. But not just those players. [Alex] Song is always going to be that man in front of the back four, but he's been on assists a lot more than in previous years."

Walcott also spoke about injuries, both in his past and those currently affecting his team-mate Wilshere.
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He said: "My dad had [shoulder injuries], [they are inherited]. But I'm fine now. I'm not afraid of getting hurt in games.

"That side of my game has gone, years ago, because when my shoulders are popping in and out it's not nice. It's hard to get out of your head and I think a lot of people forget I had that problem.

"But it's in the past. I've totally forgotten about that and the surgeons who dealt with me were fantastic.

"I hope [I have 10 more years in the game], I've got to look after myself and not get carried away. You know anything can happen in a game but fingers crossed.

"A lot of players don't break in until they're 23-24, and I've had a lot of experience, breaking 200 appearances. I'm very happy with the way it's gone.

"It's not going to be too long until [Wilshere] is hopefully back training with us because it's sad seeing him injured for a whole season. You don't want to see anyone injured especially with Jack having the season he had last year.

"The great thing is he's still young and he knows he's still got a lot to learn which is great, and he wants to be there, back playing with his mates. That's what it's about, he enjoys playing.

"He's coming in with a smile on his face every time he comes into training now. He's with the fitness coach at the moment but fingers crossed he'll be back because it'll be a nice boost going into the remaining few games."

Theo Walcott was helping film the new Mars bar advert for their ‘Play Your Part for England’ campaign along with team-mates Scott Parker and Glen Johnson. Mars is aiming to get the entire nation behind the England team and is offering the chance to win 1 of 100,000 Official Special Edition shirts with every promotional Mars Bar. See the ‘Mars Bar’ Facebook page for more information.

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