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Arsenal forward eyeing England team, but must prove his worth at club level first

Arsenal striker Theo Walcott is confident that he can feature for England at the 2016 European Championships next summer.

The forward came on as a second-half substitute against San Marino over the weekend as Roy Hodgson’s side secured qualification for the continental showpiece.

He scored with his first touch and added a second before the contest was up.

Speaking after the match, as reported by the Mirror, the former Southampton man has insisted that he can lead the line for next summer: “It is great for your confidence,” he began.

“Doesn’t matter who you are playing against. My target this year is to stay fit for the whole season and judge me from then.

“I need to play well for Arsenal and if I can continue to do that, I can get back in the [starting England] team.

“The Euros is a long time ahead. I am not even looking at that. I am looking at Tuesday and the next step is to get into the starting line-up.

“This team is blessed with talent and we should be doing better. We want to improve and do the right things. You never know how far we can go.

“It is important to improve on the World Cup disappointment.

“We have to take one step at a time, look at the next three games. We don’t want to be complacent and do the wrong things.”

The pair of efforts were Walcott’s first of the season, after four goalless performances so far this season. The 26-year-old started the Charity Shield against Chelsea, but was unable to find the net, while he featured in Arsenal’s defeat to West Ham, their draw with Liverpool and their defeat to Newcastle United, without scoring.

Indeed, doubts remain about whether Walcott could lead the line for Arsenal, let alone for his country.

The speedy forward scored only five goals in 14 EPL games last season, a similar return to five in 13 the year before.

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Admittedly, injury greatly affected both of those campaigns, and during the 2012/13 campaign, the forward’s return of 14 goals in 32 EPL outings suggests that he may be able to fire both England and Arsenal to glory.

However, in expressing his desire to remain fit, Walcott has surely identified the main obstacle he faces in realising his ambitions for Arsenal and, perhaps, for England too.

Arsene Wenger and Roy Hodgson will both be hoping that the forward can remain fit and realise his potential for both club and country.

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