Wenger urges Walcott to be patient on forward role

Theo Walcott has expressed his desire to play as a striker. Photo: PA

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has asked Theo Walcott to be patient in his demands to play as a central striker.

Walcott scored twice and played a starring role in tonight's 6-1 Capital One Cup mauling of Coventry in the week that he said being played as the main forward could be instrumental in signing a new contract with the club.

Wenger employed the 23-year-old in a wide role against the npower League One club but he showed his goalscoring potential with two efforts in the second half.

The game was already wrapped up at that stage thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andrey Arshavin, with Ignasi Miquel scoring in between Walcott's strikes.

It was a timely reminder from the England international of his finishing ability and Wenger said he will always consider deploying Walcott as a striker.

"I'm not against it, I'm not against it at all but we try and at the moment there is big competition up front, we have a different formula and the team is doing well," Wenger said.

"His time will come for that and at the moment we have to be a bit patient.

"He is a great finisher now, in front of goal he is really absolutely amazing."

Wenger also revealed the club are constantly in talks with Walcott's representatives over a new deal and is hopeful of keeping him at the club.

"We want him to stay, I always said exactly the same," he said.

"We are all professional and I always said that lets hope we can extend his deal and that is part of every professional situation.

"I speak to Theo of course, we are always in touch with them (his agent) and you have to give us some time to try and sort that out."

Wenger made 11 changes to his starting line-up for the visit of struggling Coventry and, after an average first half, he felt his side took full advantage of a tiring Sky Blues defence.

He said: "I think we did our job, in the first half we were tested defensively mainly, in the second half our offensive potential made the difference when they tired a little bit.

"From then on of course you had Arshavin, Walcott, Chamberlain and Giroud who were always a threat and the difference of quality had a big impact on the result in the end."

Coventry boss Mark Robins, taking charge of only his second game since being appointed manager, was pleased with his side's approach to the game against top-class opponents.

He said: "I think for us it is easy to be hypercritical but it is difficult to be that when you are playing one of the best teams in Europe - regardless of the players he has put on the field, they are quality players.

"We have to try and pass the ball and create chances and get out, so you have a dilemma.

"You either go and shut shop up and get people behind the ball, which is something we could have done - I wanted us to pass the ball and for me it was more important to try and get them to pass the ball in an atmosphere like tonight.

"I wanted to let them see for themselves that they can do it and they did that tonight.

"It is disappointing to lose the six goals, there is a danger that you look at it and think that is acceptable, that isn't acceptable but it is building it up."

Robins, who saw Callum Ball grab a consolation for his side, reckons improving the fitness of his squad is now one of his main priorities as he returns to trying to find Coventry's first league win of the campaign.

"They (Arsenal) were outstanding, the movement they have got will teach us a lesson," he said.

"We ran out of legs and that is something we have got to work on.

"We have got to make sure that we can sustain a performance for 90 minutes because we couldn't.

"That is where the goals came from, we tired terribly and we need to really work at that and address that."