Arsene Wenger has told Theo Walcott that he needs to choose the position he wants to play and stick with it, rather than moving all over the pitch in search of playing time.
The 27-year-old has been an infrequent selection for Wenger this term, and in recent weeks he has found his place in the squad truly under threat.
Teenage starlet Alex Iwobi has broken through and has shown more than Walcott has this year, and it is hard to imagine that the Gunners longest-serving player will return to being a guaranteed starter any time soon.
His lack of football has even seen Walcott become a doubt for England’s European Championship squad, and Wenger explained the issue has arisen in part because, when Walcott is not selected, he wishes to play in a different position to try to feature.
“The problem with Theo is he wants to play on the right and through the middle. You have to fix yourself somewhere,” the French boss said.
“When he doesn’t go through the middle, he thinks maybe for me it’s better on the right.”
Despite being in the prime of his career, Walcott is in the strange situation of not actually having a position in which he is strongest.
He has longed to be a central striker, but he has often featured on the right and left wings, filling in due to the form of Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck upfront.
Wenger has admitted that Walcott does work hard enough in training to deserve a chance as a striker, and the head coach is aware that the England international has not played “as much as he could have expected”.
He added: “It’s true that at some stage I fixed him more through the middle, because of the quality of his runs, the intelligence of his runs, and he has improved his finishing a lot,” Wenger added.
“He can be a player through the middle. And on the flanks today you have to work very hard defensively.
“He had good periods in the season. Recently, he has gone through a much more difficult period. But he will come back.
“He works very hard. I must say he puts the effort in in training. At the moment for him, for (Olivier) Giroud, it’s a bit more difficult.
“But that’s part of the competition. He understands that as well and he fights very hard. But in our job things can change very quickly from one week to the next, it can change.”