Arsenal winger Theo Walcott has urged his team-mates to relieve under-fire manager Arsene Wenger of some pressure by taking responsibility for their poor performances.
Walcott, 23, admits Wenger has shouldered the burden of Arsenal’s extended run without a trophy and believes it is time the players repaid their debt to the Frenchman, starting with this weekend’s North London derby against Tottenham.
“The boss has always had so much belief in me from a young age,” Walcott told the Arsenal’s official magazine. “But we haven’t won anything for a long time now, so we want to pay him back by winning something.
“If we don’t perform he always takes it back on himself, but at times it is not fair because we are the players that go out there and do it. He definitely lets us know when we are not performing, though, which is the right way to do it.”
“When your team is playing well it makes your job easier and when you are winning games it is fantastic to be a part of it.However, it is when things aren’t going too well that you need to stand out and get your team back involved.
“We have got players in the dressing room who can create something out of nothing, and I want to be part of that backbone.”
Walcott is one of the few homegrown players in contention for a starting place each week, but defender Carl Jenkinson believes Arsenal will benefit from English players in the future.
“I’ve seen what the boss has said himself [about a British core],” Jenkinson said. “I think he said that signing young British players will [be beneficial because] they are more likely to be committed to the club and stay at the club for a long time. I think he’s right in that thinking.
“I think that there are good young players coming through at the moment. The boss has no commitment to sign players from anywhere.
“The boss just wants the best players for Arsenal Football Club. If he thought they were from elsewhere, I’m sure he would sign them. He obviously thinks that [by signing the British players up] we’re as good or better than any other options that he had. That can only be a good thing for us.
“From my point of view, I think it’s good to have an English core. We’re an English club and with English players and an English squad, the fans can relate to that.
“Arsenal Football Club are going to sign players that are the best and I don’t think it will really matter where they’re from.”