Walcott closing in on return

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England winger Theo Walcott hopes to be back in action for Arsenal by the end of the month.

The 19-year-old has been sidelined since suffering a shoulder injury while on international duty in November, which required surgery.

Walcott, though, feels he could soon be back in contention, perhaps even in time to feature in the Champions League last-16 clash against Roma, which is split over two legs on February 24 and March 11.

"I am nearly there, and hopefully [will be back] by the end of this month," Walcott said in a webchat on

The former Southampton winger - who netted a hat-trick for England in the World Cup qualifying win over Croatia - has been sorely missed by Arsenal, whose title challenge has faded as they currently sit six points outside the top four of the Barclays Premier League.

Walcott added: "I am doing a lot of rehab work now with the shoulder, landing on it, and also in the gym with a lot of weights to build the muscle strength back."

"I just feel it will be when I am ready. Obviously I do not want to do it again, so I have got to be 100% fit."

Walcott revealed the shoulder problem was something of an inherited condition, but believes the latest operation will see him return stronger.

"My dad had an operation on his right side (shoulder) as well, and when I had my left side done, they did a scan on my right and said that something might have to be done at a different stage," he added.

"So actually it is good that it has come when I am young, and hopefully now it will be as strong as anything."

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