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‘It’s not unfair’ to compare Walcott and Henry, says Gunners boss

Thierry Henry during his historic return to Arsenal last season. Photo: Stephen Pond/EMPICS Sport Thierry Henry during his historic return to Arsenal last season. Photo: Stephen Pond/EMPICS Sport

Friday, January 25, 2013
12:00 PM

Arsene Wenger thinks that Theo Walcott would not be daunted by comparisons to club record goalscorer Thierry Henry.

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The England international has excelled in the central striker role of late after spending much of his Gunners career on the wing.

That is where Gunners legend Henry began before turning into a world class striker at a similar age Walcott is now.

“He is 23 years old and that’s when Thierry started to score goals,” Wenger said today, ahead of Arsenal’s FA Cup third round trip to Brighton & Hove Albion tomorrow.

“He will be a goalscorer of course, but what has improved a lot is [that] his teamwork has become much better.

“He has improved everywhere you can improve. His defensive game is better, his link play is better, his movement is fantastic and his finishing has improve a lot.”

Asked if it was unreasonable to draw comparisons with between the two players, Wenger said: “It’s not unfair in the job we are in, you are compared to people.

“I believe Theo is a very ambitious player and he will not be scared to be compared to a player like Thierry because he played for the same club.

“They have similar qualities but it’s a good example to follow.”

Walcott scored in the 5-1 rout of West Ham on Wednesday – his second in two games - to continue his fine form after signing a new three-year deal earlier this month.

Wenger said: “I think he was good even before he signed his contract, personally.

“One thing I said, even when he had not signed, he always played with the same focus and desire to win the games.

“I couldn’t fault him at all on his commitment on a professional level.”

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Arsenal

Nickname: The Gunners.

Ground: Emirates Stadium (capacity 60,361).

Founded: 1886.

Honours: First Division (until 1992) and Premier League: 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1938, 1948, 1953, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2004.

FA Cup: 1930, 1936, 1950, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005.

League Cup: 1987, 1993.

Fairs Cup: 1970.

Cup Winners’ Cup: 1994.

Leading goalscorer: Thierry Henry, 228.

Leading appearances: David O’Leary, 722.