By Emma Sanders

Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker has stated the Gunners need Theo Walcott and it’s important the winger remains fit.

The Express reports that Mertesacker believes Walcott is among the squad’s best players.

Walcott was omitted from England’s European Championship squad in the summer after being on the fringes of the Arsenal team for most of last season.

Since then, the pacy winger has drafted in a personal trainer and it seems the extra hard work is starting to pay off.

The 27 year-old has already scored five goals this season for Arsenal and Mertesacker believes it’s just the start for Walcott.

“We have many very good players in our squad,” said Mertesacker. “For sure, Theo and Alexis are among them and Theo needs to stay fit. As long as he does I expect a lot more to come. We need him.”

The Southampton academy graduate was a shock selection in Sven Goran Erikson’s England World Cup squad when he was just 16 years old.

He was yet to make a senior appearance for Arsenal but was tipped to become the nation’s next star.

Though bursting with potential and pace, Walcott has yet to deliver the performances many at Arsenal had hoped, though he has had spells of bright form.

He’s enjoying a positive period this season too and as Arsenal’s current longest-serving player, has provided plenty of goals and chances in the Gunners’ opening fixtures.

In other Arsenal news, Walcott’s attacking teammate captains his country for the first time during their 2-1 victory against Andorra.