Tuesday 12 December 2017

Theo Walcott says 'absolute animal' Sead Kolasinac's gym work has been the talk of the Arsenal dressing room

Kolasinac has already impressed his new team mates in the gym. Getty
Kolasinac has already impressed his new team mates in the gym. Getty

Miguel Delaney

It was difficult not to be impressed with Sead Kolasinac’s thrusting performance against Chelsea in the Community Shield, with the summer signing putting in a powerful display complete with a goal. And Theo Walcott has said that the "absolute animal's" work in the gym has already been the talk of the Arsenal dressing room.

The winger believes the free-transfer signing from Schalke is thereby “perfect” for the Premier League, and that his physical attributes will be “key” for the side this season.

Kolasinac came on as a first-half sub for the injured Per Mertesacker and capped a fine official debut with the headed equaliser to make it 1-1 and allow Arsenal to eventually win on penalties.

“You’ve got to take advantage when you can and Sead, who looks an absolute tank,” Walcott said. “He’s one tough unit to get past and I’m sure his physical attributes are going to be key to us this season.

“Honestly, he is an absolute animal. He’s incredible. I see him in the gym every day, you can just tell he looks after himself well, he eats the right food and he’s professional. You can see the power he’s got when he’s got the ball, his pace and everything. It’s beautiful to watch and he’s a great addition to the squad… trust me, yeah, he’s not easy to get around – he’s quite wide as well.

“He fits perfectly for the Premier League, he’s absolutely perfect. He’s going to show something different, I’ve seen glimpses of him in pre-season and he’s going to get fitter, stronger and quicker. This league is the best and I think he could be one of the best in this league.”

Kolasinac impressively slotted in to Arsenal’s new back-three formation that was so crucial to actually winning the FA Cup last season, and Walcott believes it bodes well, as the team are still learning the system and the more patient style of football it requires.

“It’s going to be different for us this year but it’s how we react and simple as that, we can’t really dwell on the past anymore and we need to focus on our strengths. We’re starting to learn this new system and obviously had a good run of games in the last 10 games of last season. We’re still slowly learning it and it’s working for now, and we’ll see if it continues to.

“You’ve got to be patient sometimes with this formation we’re playing, you play a different style of football, that’s what we’re learning still and we’re getting better. I think we showed it [on Sunday], we managed to stop Chelsea playing the football they tend to do when they it out to the full-backs, we stopped them very well and we’d worked on that.

“It’s exciting and that’s what we want to do, we just want to play football.”

New forward Alexandre Lacazette didn’t quite have the same impact as Kolasinac did but did hit the post and Walcott believes he will score plenty for Arsenal this season.

“Obviously he hit the post there, he showed his quality a few times and not just that, with the way he held the ball up. The manager will be the best judge of the game, I was too focused on what I could do to change the game when I came on, but he’s a goalscorer and he’s going to score goals for this club.

“We have key players in all sorts of positions who can supply him, and Oli [Giroud] as well, so loads of competition.”

Arsenal open their Premier League campaign with the first game of the season, at home to Leicester City on Friday night, and Walcott feels the fact it’s an evening game could actually help them avoid some of the slow starts they’ve suffered in the past.

“Every season we tend to start the league not so well, and being a Friday night I think a night game might be better for us. It’s a bit different, it’s new for us, the fans will be up for it obviously.”

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