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Wenger: Walcott growing in belief


Theo Walcott

Theo Walcott

Theo Walcott

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hailed Theo Walcott's influence in his side's battling 2-1 win at Blackburn and believes the confidence is flooding back into the 21-year-old after his World Cup snub.

England boss Fabio Capello was watching from the Ewood Park stands as the man he surprisingly dumped from South Africa duty built on his hat-trick against Blackpool with another searing first-half strike.

Wenger said: "It looks like he's more confident in his moves forward. Last week he was much more on the ball but what you want from a striker is sometimes you have less opportunities but you are still dangerous and sharp. He had a clinical finish and so, while you judge a striker by the number of goals he scores and assists he makes, his numbers were already very good."

Walcott picked up a fine through-ball from Cesc Fabregas before bearing down on the Blackburn goal from the right and hammering a low shot which literally broke the net, requiring extensive half-time repairs.

The goal paved the way for Wenger's men to maintain their promising start to the season with a rare away win against one of Sam Allardyce's teams who for so long have proved a thorn in the Gunners' side.

And the Gunners did it with Fabregas not entirely firing on all cylinders. The Spaniard, still shrugging off injury, was replaced just past the hour mark by Tomas Rosicky.

Wenger added: "Cesc has shown he is class but, of course, he is not completely there yet. In two weeks he should be ready to play (a whole game)."