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Tom Odell

4 Oct 2016 - 12:03 PM  UPDATED 4 Oct 2016 - 12:04 PM

Theo Walcott has long been considered an underperformer, but his recent performances suggest he is finally living up to the expectations set upon him as a teenager.

Eight games into the season, the 27-year-old has five goals and two assists in all competitions and is looking as assured as ever in an Arsenal shirt.

Interviewed after Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Basel in the Champions League last week, Walcott said he is working harder than he ever has before.

“I’ve been around a long time, I’m not going to dwell on what’s happened in the past, I think at the age I am, the amount of experience I’ve had, games I’ve played and goals I’ve scored, this season is just a different level,” he said.

“I’m working harder than I ever have… and I just want to be the best I can.”

Most of the Englishman’s career has been on the wing, but he has always seen himself as a central striker.

Walcott’s ideal position has always been debated, but his good form at the start of the season has all come from the right wing.

He made his mark as a player with Southampton, coming out of their academy as one of the brightest prospects in English football.

Unbelievable pace quickly became his hallmark, and after signing with Arsenal in 2006 for £5m, heavy expectations sat on his 16-year-old shoulders.

Whether they weighed him down or not, he has never truly established himself as a powerhouse of the Premier League.

But, in what could quite possibly be his best start to a top-flight season, he has scored five goals, including the 100th of his career, and assisted two.