Backpage Roundup: Walcott Injures Buttock, Cesar Rejected Arsenal, Wenger Laments Lack of Defensive Urgency, Wilshere Surprised By Quick England Return and More

Walcott Suffers Buttock Injury  

Theo Walcott injured a buttock muscle in Arsenal’s 3-3 draw with Fulham on Saturday and so his participation in England’s upcoming friendly game with Sweden is doubtful.

The 23-year-old winger made his first PL start of the season against the Cottagers and created two goals for his teammates before being taken off in the 84th minute.

At the end of the game, coach Arsene Wenger told reporters: “Walcott has a glute muscle problem. We nearly took him off at half-time, he nearly went down, but we left him on and on. In the end, it got worse and worse. At the moment, he is limping so I do not know whether he will be able to join the national team or not.”

 

Cesar Claims Arsenal Snub

Julio Cesar has claimed that he rejected Arsenal this summer in favour of joining Queen Park Rangers.

The Brazilian goalkeeper has revealed that he was close to joining the Gunners but the chance of landing a directorial role at QPR after retirement forced him to choose their London rivals over them.

The Sunday People have quoted Cesar as saying: “I accepted this proposal because I wanted to live in London. I have an amazing way of life here and I’m giving my family a great opportunity to grow up culturally. I talked with Arsenal in the last transfer window, and they were really happy about me playing for them, but at the last minute I moved to QPR.”

He further added: “The fact that I can speak Portuguese, Italian and now English will give me opportunities in the future to be a director once I quit football. Even at QPR I could work as a director.”

 

Gunner Lacked Urgency against Fulham – Wenger

Arsene Wenger feels that Arsenal players didn’t show much sense of urgency on the defensive end in Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Fulham and that ended up costing them two points.

The Gunners threw away a two-goal lead and allowed the Cottagers to score three unanswered strikes. Olivier Giroud then equalised the game before Mikel Arteta missed an injury-time penalty that would have won Arsenal the game.

In the post-match interview with Sky Sports, Wenger said: “It’s difficult to measure. We had the possibility to win the game but we didn’t take it. We were 2-0 up and gave two cheap goals away, but after that we have shown a fantastic spirit. I believe we have not shown enough urgency in our defending at 2-0 up.”

 

Koscielny Blames Inconsistent Performances on Missing Pre-Season

Laurent Koscielny has confessed that he hasn’t been consistent with his performances for Arsenal in the ongoing 2012/13 season.

The French centre-half, who represented his country at Euro 2012 in the summer, blames his uneven showings on missing a large part of Arsenal’s pre-season campaign.

Koscielny said: “It’s been hard, of course. I lost most of pre-season because I was away with France, and then I had an injury right at the beginning of the season. It was difficult to come back from that quickly – the season had started, the players were up and running and you need time to get back to the required level.

I know that I’ve played some good games and some not so good this season, but I’m working hard to stay fit and well. We have great competition for places at the back with guys like Per, Thomas and Johan [Djourou], and we have a lot of respect for each other. It’s healthy for us, and we don’t stop trying to improve as individuals and as a unit.”

 

Gunners Doing Everything to Renew Walcott’s Contract

Arsene Wenger has assured Arsenal fans that they are doing everything in their powers to renew Theo Walcott’s expiring contract.

The Gunners boss has made it clear that he wants to keep hold of the 23-year-old winger but admits that the situation needs to be resolved before New Year, as Walcott will be free to negotiate with other clubs after that.

Wenger said: “My desire is to keep Theo. We do what’s needed to keep him and hopefully [as] I told you many times, we can sort this situation out very soon – very soon is before the end of December, one way or another, that is for sure.

“I don’t want to go into any details [over wage negotiations], but you can believe me [that] we do the maximum we can to keep our best players.”

 

Three Lions Return Surprises Wilshere

Jack Wilshere has confessed that he is a little surprised to be back in coach Roy Hodgson’s England squad considering the fact that he has played just three matches for Arsenal since making his first-team comeback last month.

The 20-year-old midfielder, who is set to play a brief part in England’s upcoming friendly against Sweden, told BBC Football Focus: “Maybe it is a bit too soon (to be called up) because I have only played three games since I have been back. But it is great for my head and my confidence to know I am in the new manager’s plans.

“The last time I played for England was under Fabio Capello and now there is a new manager and staff, so I did not know the thinking of the new tactics – would I fit in? Am I in their plans? To know now the manager has picked me and he is looking at me for the team is good for me.”

 

England Call-Up Will Benefit Jenkinson

Arsene Wenger believes that Carl Jenkinson’s first-ever call-up to the England squad is good news, as it will give him confidence and improve his overall game.

The Arsenal youngster is in coach Roy Hodgson’s squad for next week’s friendly match against Sweden and his club boss has highlighted the impact it could have on his career.

In a recent interview with Arsenal.com, Wenger said: “I am happy that his potential has been acknowledged by Roy Hodgson, so that is good news. Carl is a guy with massive potential and I believe the positive of that is it will improve his belief, and that is very important for him in my opinion.”

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