Theo Walcott claims the MLS is 'very close' to the standard of the EPL

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Theo Walcott was once one of the most exciting young English talents to ever burst on the scene when he secured his move to Arsenal as an electric 16-year-old.

The England international is now 27-years-old and has had an up and down career to say the least. Injuries have played their part in restricting his glaring potential from being realised, but the Stanmore-born forward is now entering the prime years of his career.

Arsenal are currently in America putting the finishing touches on their preparation for the new Premier League season, but first up, they must face the MLS All-Star team.

Household names like Kaka, Andrea Pirlo and Didier Drogba will battle the Gunners at the Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California, and Walcott believes the standard of football in America has come on leaps and bounds in recent years.

"I'm sure American soccer, as you guys call it, is actually gaining very close to Premier League standard, definitely," Walcott said following Wednesday's training session. "There's a lot of players that have come from England to America. The game's growing, it's getting bigger and that's exactly what we want."

Will Walcott follow in the footsteps of former England internationals like Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips in moving to America in the winter of his career?

"It's something you can never rule out, of course," Walcott told reporters. "But my future's [at Arsenal] for now, and we'll see where it takes me in the future."

This game presents an opportunity like no other for Walcott and his teammates. All-star teams are an American tradition that England does not adhere to, and the unique aspect of this game is attractive to the flying forward.

"When I was a kid we always used to hear about the All-Stars, obviously with basketball, and to actually be involved in an All-Star match against America's best is great to be part of, to be honest," Walcott said. "Hopefully there will be more and more of this, and hopefully, we can show what the Premier League's about."

Can the MLS catch up with the Premier League? Walcott's comments may be a bit optimistic at the moment. When players actively seek moves there in their prime years rather than treat it like a retirement home in some cases, perhaps they will rub shoulders.

Have they made great strides in the last decade though? Of course. Should they continue to, there is no telling how much the league can grow.

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Steven Gerrard
Theo Walcott
Didier Drogba
Frank Lampard

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