Belfast Telegraph

Walcott excited by Asia trip

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott admits the pre-season jaunt to Asia could affect players but believes it is an important step to build the club's brand and fanbase.

Arsene Wenger's side head to Asia on a lucrative tour that will first see them visit Malaysia to face an All-Star XI, before heading west to face Hangzhou Greentown in China next Saturday. However, the Gunners' jet setting does not stop there as they head to Germany to face Bundesliga outfit Cologne the following week.

"In previous year we only went to Austria and Holland as well so it didn't take too much out of you," he told "It will hit you at some stage but we have just got to get used to that."

He added: "It is still a long way until the season starts so we should recover by the time that comes.

"I'm not really thinking about it to be fair. I am just looking forward to the challenge we've got and somewhere different that I've never been before.

"It will be a totally different experience and the culture is so different out there.

"I'm really looking forward to the amount of support that's out there.

"I've heard rumours that during our open training sessions there is going to be 50,000-plus there so that is just amazing.

"It is nice just to see these people that you might not ever meet again and if we can do something that will help the club as well as a brand it will make us grow and have a larger fanbase."

Following jaunts to the Far East and central Europe, Arsenal will host the annual Emirates Cup competition at the end of the month where they will face Boca Juniors and then New York Red Bulls.


From Belfast Telegraph