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Walcott: I deserved to start

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott has hinted at a rift developing between himself and manager Arsene Wenger after he claimed he 'fully deserved' to be in the starting line-up after his goal scoring display in the 2-2 Champions League draw against Schalke on Tuesday night.

•  Arsenal held by Schalke
•  Wenger pleased with improvement

Wenger has insisted Walcott's spell on the substitutes bench has nothing to do with his refusal to sign a new contract with the club, yet Walcott clearly feels he is being poorly treated after his very public outburst after the game.

"I just want to play hopefully now I can get a run in the team because I feel I fully deserve it," said Walcott, who then refused to deny his contract wrangle was the reason for his inactivity in recent weeks.

"You have to ask the manager that question, I can't answer that," he responded sharply.

Wenger refused to elaborate on his reluctance to hand Walcott a regular starting position despite his side's indifferent form of late. "Theo did well, very well," stated the Arsenal boss. "He had a positive attitude and was fresh as well. He was the only one you always felt could make a difference and it was no coincidence he had the chance in the final minute as he was still fresh."

When quizzed on whether Walcott will get the chance he desires to play as an out and out striker, Wenger has this response: "A winger is a striker," he suggested. "Giroud has Walcott and Podolski with him in this game. We scored two goals. We had more chances and played with three offensive midfielders as well."

The Arsenal boss went on to target progress to the last 16 of the Champions League in their next Group B game. "With luck, we could do it in our next game," he added, looking ahead to the clash against Montpellier at Emirates Stadium.

"We are of course in a position where we want to win our home game. If we win, we have a 50% chance of going through because Schalke play Olympiakos in Germany. Theyare in a position where they have absolutely to win that game as well.

"It will of course depend on our result against Montpellier and then we will see what happens in the game in Germany. We must win against Montpellier, simple as that."

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