Arsenal forward Theo Walcott's recent improvement is due to a change "in his attitude and application", according to Martin Keown. The 27-year-old England international has scored eight goals from ten starts so far this season, and Keown credits his marked upturn to an improved attitude.
Walcott was a peripheral figure at the Emirates Stadium towards the end of the last campaign and subsequently missed out on Euro 2016 with England, prompting speculation he would leave Arsenal over the summer. This season, however, he has been one of the Gunners' best players, regularly scoring goals despite playing out wide.
"Theo Walcott has improved so much this season, it is as if he has flicked a switch in his head," the former Arsenal defender told the BBC. "Walcott now sees himself as a winger, not a striker, but his turnaround is not just because he is now focusing on succeeding in one position for Arsenal.
"It is down to a change in his attitude and application, which has brought him a greater end product – he has already scored more Premier League and Champions League goals than he did in the whole of last season.
"He has also increased his defensive work and has already made more tackles in the league in 2016-17 than in the two previous campaigns combined. It is like the Gunners only had half a player until now."
Keown said that Walcott's new-found maturity has led to him becoming a huge asset for Arsenal. "Theo has a different mindset because at the age of 27 he has reached a stage of his career where alarm bells are ringing," he said of Walcott, who signed for Arsenal in 2006.
"He has been at the club for more than 10 years now and he is not prepared to be a bit-part player any more. Rather than being someone who comes in and out of the team, he wants to be a part of the main story at Arsenal.
"It seems to be the case that he is now thinking: 'I have to be in the team and I am going to do everything possible to be there.' That would have started on day one of pre-season, which is why Wenger spoke in the summer about seeing a different player – and that determination has not stopped since."