Theo Walcott says the brilliance and passion of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil inspires the whole Arsenal squad but that hasn’t impeded teammates from the occasional frank exchange in the dressing room.
So far this season Ozil and Alexis have 22 goals and 13 assists between them; an impressive tally that has helped the Gunners to the knockout stage of the Champions League and to second place in the Premier League.
Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Goodison Park, Walcott touched on his relationship with the star duo.
“When you see Mesut and Alexis, you think, ‘I want to be better than you’,” he told the Evening Standard.
“You see how hard they work and you think that you want to do the same. You can see that in the whole team, everyone wants to do more.
“Some of the things Alexis and Mesut do on the pitch are incredible. I have played with some fantastic players in my long Arsenal career, and Alexis is definitely one I really enjoy playing with and genuinely enjoy every minute on the pitch with him.
“Sometimes we might have a bit of a discussion among each other, that is what you want and it is that respect for each other. Do we have a snipe at each other? Now and then. There was a particular moment at Hull, but that will stay in the dressing room.”
The Evening Standard speculate that the incident behind the heated exchange was Sanchez’s spontaneous decision to assume penalty duty during the 4-1 win at the KC Stadium, despite regular taker Santi Cazorla being on the pitch; a situation exacerbated by the fact the Chilean then had his effort saved.
Walcott added of the burgeoning team spirit at London Colney: “It is good, it shows the passion we have in the team now.
“We have winners and I think Alexis is a winner, he has been to Barcelona and won everything and he obviously wants us to win as well. If the passion is there, the team perform much better.”