Backpage roundup: Walcott injured, Arteta opens up about his sacrifice, Wenger not afraid to splash cash, Podolski’s improvement and more

Walcott’s Chest Injury Rules Him Out Of Poland Game

Theo Walcott will not feature in England’s World Cup qualifier against Poland on Tuesday due to a chest injury, the Football Association have confirmed.

The Arsenal winger picked up the injury after colliding with San Marino goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini in Friday’s 5-0 win and stayed in hospital under medical observation due to breathing difficulties.

The FA released a statement saying: “Theo Walcott has been ruled out of the FIFA World Cup qualifier with Poland on Tuesday with a chest injury. The Arsenal forward was taken to hospital following a collision with the San Marino goalkeeper on Friday night. He was monitored overnight as a precaution and, following scan results today, will return to his club for further treatment.”

 

Arteta Talks about His Sacrifice

Mikel Arteta has admitted that he has altered his natural style of play this season in order to become a better fit for the team.

The 30-year-old Gunner has played his entire career as a central attacking midfielder but was asked to accept a deeper and more defensive role after the arrival of his compatriot Santi Cazorla to Emirates Stadium this summer. While he prefers playing in a more advanced position, he says that he is happy to sacrifice his wishes for the collective good of the team.

In an interview with the official Arsenal magazine, Arteta said: “It’s a very important job, balancing the team between attack and defence, and that’s what I’ve been attempting to do. I’ve had to change my mentality a little bit – I know that I can’t go forward as much as I used to and I need to sacrifice more in attack – but if it’s beneficial for the team I’m more than happy to do it.

“If you want to play at a top-level club like Arsenal you have to adapt to different roles and situations. We’ve got so many attacking players now, with a lot of quality going forward, and I know I now have more defensive responsibility. I need to assume that responsibility to help my team-mates and I’m very pleased to do it if we get the right results.”

 

Vermaelen Backs Wilshere to Achieve Greatness

Thomas Vermaelen believes that his fit-again Arsenal teammate Jack Wilshere has the potential to become one of the finest midfielders in world football.

The 20-year-old playmaker recently returned to competitive football following 14 months on the sidelines due to a series of ankle and knee injuries. While some people feel that he would struggle to reach the level he was tipped to achieve before his injury problems surfaced, Vermaelen doesn’t agree with that view at all.

The Gunners captain told Arsenal.com:You know what he did in his first full season for Arsenal – he was amazing. For me, he can be one of the best midfielders in the world. He has the potential for that. I’m really happy he’s coming back now. He’s working on his match fitness and that’s the most important thing. I think in the future he will lift the team.

“When I was out with injury, I was in the gym a lot. Jack was in the gym even longer working hard on his weaknesses. You can see that now in his body on the pitch. For me he looks much stronger and that’s good. Sometimes you have to take the positives when you’re out for more than a year and I think he’s done that.”

 

Arsenal Move Is Benefitting Podolski – Low

Germany coach Joachim Low believes that Lukas Podolski has become a much better player since leaving FC Koln for Arsenal in the summer.

The 27-year-old striker decided to leave the comfort of German Bundesliga for the English Premier League in April 2012, and Low believes that his decision to test himself on foreign soil is proving to be a major success.

Talking about Podolski in a recent press conference, the Die Mannschaft boss said: “I always said it would be a good move for him. I think the progress he is making at Arsenal is very positive. He always has such a positive energy about him and is benefiting from his experiences with Arsenal.

“I can only say positive things about him, even when he does not play. I have always been able to count on him for many years. That makes him indispensable for us. Even if he did not always start games, I always rated him very highly.”

 

Gazidis Defends Wenger’s Transfer Policy

Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis has rejected suggestions that coach Arsene Wenger’s approach in the transfer market is conservative and he is scared to take risks on expensive players.

Despite having significant cash in the bank, the Gunners have failed to acquire big-name players in the past few years and some people attribute that to Wenger’s unwillingness to spend big. However, Gazidis doesn’t agree with that viewpoint at all.

In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, he said: “I don’t think Arsene is conservative, I think he is extraordinarily brave. I think he does things others don’t do and sees things others don’t see. Arsene is not fixed on the price of a player in assessing a player’s value, he will look with equal weight at a young player who is coming through the Arsenal academy and a player that might be available with a very hefty price tag from overseas.

“He is not afraid to spend money when he believes in a player and sees a player he thinks can kick us forward but he is not obsessed with the security that a big transfer fee might give him. I think the time when we have to continue to ask them [the Arsenal supporters] for patience is coming to an end and I think we will be able to deliver the kind of success they want on a consistent basis going forward as one of the leading clubs in Europe.”

 

No Roma Bid for Djourou

Johan Djourou’s agent Flavio Ferraria has said that recent media reports linking his client with a move to AS Roma are totally untrue, although he did admit that the Italian Serie A does interest him.

The 25-year-old centre-half, who hasn’t featured in any game for Arsenal so far this season, was the subject of an alleged Roma bid, but his agent says that there is no truth in those rumours.

Calciomercato.it have quoted Ferraria as saying: “There has been absolutely no contact with Roma and I don’t know where these rumours have come from. I met Johan recently, but we did not talk about Roma because there’s really nothing to say. There is no real possibility that he will leave Arsenal as he is contracted to them until 2015. However, we will evaluate the current situation in January.

“Obviously he would like to play in Italy because we have discussed this several times before, but he hasn’t a preference for any specific club. I think he would do very well at Roma because he is young and versatile and the most important thing is that he wants to play with continuity.”