Arsene Wenger believes Theo Walcott is Arsenal's fastest player despite reports that Hector Bellerin broke the England international's sprint record.
Walcott shocked Arsenal coaches after smashing Thierry Henry's 40m sprint record, lowering it from 4.82 seconds to 4.43. It was thought it would never be beaten and it remained intact until Hector Bellerin arrived at the club.
Bellerin lowered the total by just 1/100th of a second to become Arsenal's fastest player of all time over the set distance. However, Wenger still believes the title belongs to Walcott.
“I believe personally Walcott is our fastest player"
He told reporters ahead of Arsenal's FA Cup semi-final against Reading: “I believe personally Walcott is our fastest player."
Wenger was also asked to respond to an accusation from Great Britain sprinter Richard Kilty, who challenged both Walcott and Bellerin to a race, placing £30,000 on the line.
Faster than Bolt?
Kilty, who was annoyed by a report that suggested Bellerin was quicker than 100m world-record holder Usain Bolt, questioned the validity of the record.
However, the sprint star failed to take into account that Arsenal's sprint tests allow the players to build up speed first, allowing the player's to register even fast times.
“The pace in our job starts with the brain and of course when you put in action what you analyse on the pitch"
Wenger agrees that Kilty would indeed win a race straight race with Bellerin and attempted to explain why footballers will never be able to compete with professional sprinters.
He said: “I agree completely that the sprinters are quicker but it’s different runs. It’s not only pure pace.
“The pace in our job starts with the brain and of course when you put in action what you analyse on the pitch.
“But pure speed, I am convinced that the sprinters who are specialists are quicker than football players.”
Training ground battle
Walcott will be happy to hear the words of encouragement from Wenger as he was obviously peeved by the suggestion that he was no longer the club's fastest player.
"Did he have the wind, was it downhill?" Walcott asked when originally breaking the news. "We’ll wait until the summer and the perfect conditions like he had."
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