Arsenal would see the best of Walcott as a striker, says club legend Ian Wright

The former international believes the ex-Southampton attacker has all the attributes needed to be a top frontman, but concedes that he may need time to adapt to a new role

Arsenal legend Ian Wright believes the Gunners would see the best from Theo Walcott if they played him as a striker.

The young England international is currently in a contract dispute with the club and has had an inconsistent start to the season but scored twice in a fine performance in their 6-1 win over Coventry in the League Cup.

Wright feels that Walcott has all the ability to be a top striker after spending the majority of his career on the wing, and says that all he needs is a chance to prove himself.

"I love Theo and have been saying for a long time that he should be playing as a striker," Wright told ESPN.

"Clearly he is not the finished article and could do with some more work from the Arsenal coaches, but Theo has all the ingredients to be a top striker.

"[Arsene] Wenger has been saying for a long time that he sees Theo developing into a striker, so give the guy a chance to prove he can do it. If it doesn't work, then fair enough, but it has to be worth a try.

"My hope is the fans get Theo's contract situation sorted and then he can get on with showing what he can do on the field. There are so many good things about this guy, but people always tend to focus on the negatives."

The former Gunners striker believes the 23-year-old has faced too much criticism so far in his time at Arsenal, which he feels is solely down to the expectations following his call-up to the England squad for the World Cup in 2006.

He added: "The trouble for me is that people believe he should be doing more than he does every week and that expectation around him isn't all his own fault.

"There he was at 16, never played for Arsenal in the Premier League and he was thrown into the England World Cup squad in 2006. It was stupid. Ever since, people want him to win games on his own every week and nothing he does is good enough.

"I hear so many people slagging off Premier League footballers for being bad role models, but Theo is a great asset to our game. He is a solid young man, articulate and never gets himself into trouble on or off the pitch.

"What more could you want from a guy in a high profile position? So I hope the Arsenal fans give him a bit of a break instead of getting on his back."