Theo Walcott set for striker experiment

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Football News

Arsenal star Theo Walcott will get a rare chance to shine in his preferred central strike role tonight, in England's friendly against Italy in Turin.

Walcott will partner Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane as England manager Roy Hodgson tries out a new experimental front line, with Wayne Rooney playing at the top of a midfield diamond.

That is according to The Telegraph, who believe that Hodgson wants to see if Walcott's pace can be utilised in a central area after losing Danny Welbeck, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge through injury.

Walcott set for rare start

Hodgson's plan to tinker will come as a welcome boost for Walcott, who has endured a difficult start to 2015.

The 26-year-old has started just three Premier League games since the turn of the year, failing to convince Arsene Wenger he's ready for a regular starting spot again despite scoring in two of those appearances.

Opportunity there to be taken

Hodgson is hoping that Walcott's blistering pace with give a fairly slow Italian backline nightmares at the Juventus Arena, which with Giorgio Chiellini admitting his speed is 'terrifying' seems like a perfectly plausible tactical shift.

Much of the spotlight on the Three Lions side this evening will rightly surround Kane on his first international start, but in many ways tonight's match could be far more important for Walcott.

Hodgson has readily admitted that Walcott's lack of first-team action is a concern, so imagine how much its playing on the Arsenal star's mind.

Walcott is fast approaching the final year of his current contract at the Emirates and in many ways a pivotal point in his career, especially now a prolonged recovery from a cruciate ligament problems is behind him.

The prospect of terrorising an Italian side in transition is one Walcott should relish, because it provides the perfect opportunity for the Gunners star to remind Hodgson, Wenger and his critics the unique threat he offers in the final third.

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