Arsenal forward Theo Walcott is relishing his status as one of the more experienced players in Arsene Wenger's dressing room, and wants to follow the example set by former team-mate Robin van Persie before he signed for Manchester United.
The 24-year-old winger-turned-striker is already one of the more senior figures in the current Gunners squad, and despite his tender years, says he is happy to take on the responsibility as a role model for younger players to look up to.
Walcott first arrived in north London in 2006 when he made a high-profile switch from Southampton. Now an Arsenal first-team regular, and full international, the England star has revealed he enjoys being able to pass on advice, and as he continues to mature he hopes to have the same influence that Van Persie had on him.
"I'm always there for any of the guys," he told Arsenal's official website. "I think at times they may look up to me, which is great but I'm just one of the guys as well.
"If someone gets injured, for example, I always like to have a chat with them, see how they are. But yes that's the other side of the game I'm starting to learn as well."
Walcott added: "Robin used to give me a lot of advice when I was younger, and I'm not quite there yet, but I will be."
With 18 goals in all competitions for Arsenal this season, Walcott is enjoying his most fruitful campaign at the Emirates Stadium, despite only playing a bit-part role at the start of 2012/13, when his contract negotiations were ongoing.
The high-profile departure of last year's leading goalscorer Van Persie, who moved to Old Trafford in a £24million deal in the summer, and has gone on to score 19 Premier League goals for Manchester United so far this term, meant that there was a need for someone else to step up and fill the void left by the Dutchman.
Walcott admits that he has surpassed his own expectations, and is now setting his sights on another goals target with just nine Premier League games remaining.
"I wanted 20 goals in all competitions, so I may have to set another target! But I also wanted between 15 and 20 Premier League goals, and I'm on 11 at the moment.
"Assists are a bonus, but for a wide man, the number of goals I've got so far is definitely better than I would've thought."
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