Arsenal boss Wenger still sees Walcott developing into central striker

Ahead of Saturday's match against the player's former club Southampton, the Frenchman has reiterated that the England international will move into the centre in the future
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has reiterated that he believes Theo Walcott will develop into a striker.

The Dossier: Walcott can be false nine
Gamble could unlock the full potential of Arsenal's new-look midfield
The Frenchman stated when he signed Walcott from Southampton in 2006 that he saw him moving to a more central role in the future, and even suggested in 2010 that the England international was "very close" to making the switch.

However, while the 23-year-old has become a key player for the Gunners in a wide position, he is yet to be given a consistent run by Wenger in the centre.

Comparing Walcott to fellow Southampton academy graduate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the Arsenal boss told the club's official website: "They are a different style. I believe that Walcott is more of a striker-type and Oxlade-Chamberlain is a more midfielder-type.

"You could see Oxlade-Chamberlain developing into a central midfielder but you could never with Walcott. I see Walcott developing through the middle as a striker and Chamberlain maybe as a central midfielder."

6/1 Theo Walcott is 6/1 to score first against Southampton with bet 365
Ahead of Saturday's meeting with Southampton, Wenger also praised the work their opponents have done to help progress youngsters through the ranks.

"First of all it is [down to] fantastic scouting and they have a good development and coaching programme with young players," he said.

"They started that earlier than anyone else. They have a good reputation with their youth."

As well as Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tottenham star Gareth Bale and current Saints skipper Adam Lallana began their careers at St Mary's.