PHOTO: Theo Walcott training after the Arsenal match

Theo Walcott

Arsenal star spotted warming down after the victory.

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott was an unused substitute in the 2-0 win over Sunderland.

The attacker has not played a first team game since injuring his cruciate knee ligament in January, and will now hope to make his return in November.

Simply being on the bench was huge progress for the England international, and Arsene Wenger is clearly keen not to rush him back.

After the victory at the Stadium of Light, Walcott could be seen going through his paces and warming down with fitness coach Shad Forsythe.

Arsene Wenger told after the game: "He lacks competition. Physically he lacks two things: contact in the Premier League and competition. But fitness wise there is no problem at all."

All of Wenger's pre-game comments had suggested Walcott would not be used, despite travelling with the squad. His appearance on the bench was likely out of hope, that Arsenal could get up to a big lead, and give the recovering star a run out.

The Gunners face Burnley next at home, with the same possibility persisting, but Arsenal are clearly keen to handle Walcott's return carefully, and a place on the bench is probably the best he can hope for.

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