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Andy Gray: Theo Walcott needs to get real over Arsenal contract talks

Sharethematch.com ambassador Andy Gray was talking exclusively to tribalfootball.com…

WHILE I think it was a great performance from Theo Walcott in Arsenal's 7-5 victory over Reading, his problem has always been kicking on from a good performance and enjoying a good spell of form.

He's pulled performances like this out of the bag before but we've seen it before where he won't play at that level again for a couple of weeks.

Theo had a good game, he finished well - I think with Gervinho being injured for a few weeks Arsene Wenger will give him a run and he will feel this is a big opportunity.

It's an odd one with Theo because people talk about him needing confidence, but a few years ago he scored that hat-trick for England against Croatia. It doesn't get much better than that, scoring a hat trick for your country. It's the sort of performance you would really expect to kick on from but Theo never did that.

I'm reluctant to say he will kick on from here. But that said he's more mature, he's older. The one thing he has lacked so far in his career has been consistency and he has to put that into practice otherwise he's just going to be another player who might have been a great player.

If Theo takes his best form onto the field on a weekly basis he would walk into any side - for him it's all about getting form under his belt and getting a good run of form going so I think he needs to think of that before he thinks about playing football somewhere else.

Arsene Wenger praised Walcott after the Reading game and I think it will kickstart those contract negotiations but Theo is kidding himself if he thinks people will believe it is really about playing time.

Everyone knows the contract situation is all about money, we're talking the difference between £70,000 and £100,000 a week. For an ordinary fan, especially Arsenal fans who spend more money than anyone else in the country to watch their side, and with no trophy since 2005, it's hard for them to justify a player making demands like that.

I've always respected Arsene Wenger's tactics in the League Cup for getting his younger players blooded in.

It very nearly worked against him on Tuesday night but they came through it and I think it's their best chance of ending this trophy drought. I think this week has been a great advert for the League Cup with the amount of goals we saw. It's rare to see two games like that on consecutive nights but it happened and it was a timely reminder that it is a competitive competition.

It's an enjoyable competition because you get the upsets more often. The fact the bigger teams field weaker sides gives the chance for a winner like Birmingham or a finalist like Cardiff and that's always exciting because it's different.

For a team like Bradford to be in the quarter final is fantastic and is always something people are going to want to watch.

Andy Gray is an official ambassador for Sharethematch.com - Football's Social Network. Available now for FREE online or at the App Store; http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/share-the-match/id450784289?mt=8

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Tribal Football Staff

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