Theo Walcott has revealed he received a torrent of abuse from Arsenal fans amid talk of a January transfer, before committing his long-term future to the club.

The England international feels he learnt from the experience and looks forward to winning trophies at the Emirates stadium.

In an interview with The Times, Walcott said: "Last year against Tottenham in the first half, I got a lot of abuse from the fans, which wasn't fair.

"I'm sure they would be nice to my face. People always are nice when they meet you."

"It's only on message boards or Twitter and stuff - or when it's in a crowd - that it turns nasty, and that's why I avoid all that stuff."

The winger's future was in doubt at the beginning of the campaign, having been clear about his desire to play in a more central position for Arsenal, but he signed a new £100,000-a-week deal four months ago to end rumours that he might leave the Gunners.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been forced, on a number of occasions, to publicly defend his player, whom he signed from Southampton in 2006 and helped to become England's youngest ever senior player at the age of 17.

Walcott says that he made no secret of his commitment to the team, as well as his long-term mentor.

"I always said I wanted to stay," he insisted.

"I knew what I owed to Arsenal and to the manager, getting my when I was 16. I did want to repay the club."

Wenger has used the player to spearhead his attack in a number of matches this season - most notably when he scored a hat-trick in Arsenal's 7-3 win over Newcastle United - and Walcott asserts that he is now focused on beating north London rivals Tottenham to a top four finish.

"I think because we've had the experience of doing it at the death and Tottenham have a history of fasing out, we have the upper-hand, definitely the experience of coping.

"Losing at their place was obviously a blow, but we've bounced back from that." 

Arsenal's top goalscorer also believes that the squad could go far in cup competitions next year, including the UEFA Champions League.

"I wanted to stay because I still think this club can go on to achieve something. It's 'when' and not 'if' we can win something."

As for his own confidence, Walcott admits that he found it hard to contend with early expectations.

"I haven't believed how good I am. People around me, my agent, my dad say that to me sometimes."

His form has continued to be somewhat mixed of late, but Walcott started the goalless draw with Everton and will hope to feature again as Arsenal play Fulham this afternoon.


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