Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott has made four appearances this season Reuters

Arsenal star Theo Walcott is being cautious about his full return to action, aiming to get back into the fold gradually to avoid a recurrence of his latest injury.

The English international resumed his position earlier in the season against Burnley after being on the sidelines for nine months due to a cruciate ligament injury.

But after only two late cameo appearances, the 25-year-old forward picked a fresh injury which saw him missing the following eight Premier League games.

Walcott then returned to action during the Premier League defeat against Southampton on New Year's Day before making his first starting appearance of the campaign in the FA Cup victory over Hull City on Sunday 4 January - exactly a year after he suffered a long-term cruciate ligament injury in the third round of the FA Cup against Tottenham last year.

After the game, manager Arsene Wenger told supporters not to expect too much too soon from him despite his impressive appearance.

"You cannot expect much [from Walcott yet], but fitness-wise he was good. Theo had good chances, made some good runs. He has to get used to contact again and that will take a little bit of time," the boss said.

And the player himself has also now claimed he expects to regain his confidence gradually to avoid further setbacks.

"You need to just come into training with a smile on your face, enjoy it and that's all you can do. I remember when I had one of my injuries before, I came in down in the dumps and rehab seemed to take so much longer," Walcott told Arsenal's official website.

"You don't want that, you want to come in and feel like you're doing something each day. Even though it might be the same things at the start, you benefit when it comes to the end of it.

"I like to work week by week, so I forget about the big picture and the nine months. Week by week, hitting the goals and when you have achieved that, you can feel good about hitting something else."

Nevertheless, the Gunners star is pleased to finally see light at the end of the tunnel after a frustrating year.

"When I was first coming in, it was in the afternoon, which is a good thing because I was on crutches and the physios had to deal with the players that were fit at the time.

"I'd see the players go out and that was quite tough. Then I came in during the mornings and just doing that helped me feel I had a place back in the squad, so that was nice."