Theo Walcott hails impact made by Alexis Sanchez at Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez Chile

Theo Walcott says Alexis Sanchez has been an inspirational figure at Arsenal on and off the pitch since completing a big-money move from Barcelona.

Theo Walcott has told Arsenal’s official website that the presence of Alexis Sanchez has helped to raise the bar at Emirates Stadium.

The Chilean forward has enjoyed a remarkable start to his career in England, with an immediate return offered on the sizeable investment the Gunners have made in him.

He was snapped up from Barcelona last summer, with Arsene Wenger allowing him to step out of the shadow of others at Camp Nou and become a leading figure at a Premier League heavyweight.

It is not just on the field that Sanchez has been making a positive impact, though.

Walcott admits the work-rate of the powerful forward has inspired those around him, with other members of the Arsenal squad looking to Sanchez as an example of what is required to compete at the very highest level on a consistent basis.

He told Arsenal Player: “You see somebody working so hard and it makes you want to try to back him up. When you see what he does off the pitch, behind the scenes at the training ground, and how much work he puts in, all the players just stand up and think ‘Yeah, I need to a bit more as well then’.

“It’s about getting that balance right. We told him during the Christmas period to relax a little bit, but he still cracked on with his gym work! He’s that sort of person - nothing will make him tired. It’s healthy to see, because the Premier League is very fast, but he’s coped with it fine.

“He is amazing because he spots things that a lot of players won’t. I tend to make my runs off the ball and he is always looking for that. He drags more players on to him, which creates more space for other people and I do the same thing. It is a great balance and once I am fully fit, I think it is going to be some force for the Premier League to handle.”

  GoalsGoal AssistTotal PassTotal Scoring AttTouchesAppearancesMins Played
Alexis Sánchez 12 7 870 67 1,489 21 1,761

Sanchez has netted 18 times in his debut campaign, with 12 of those efforts arriving in Premier League competition.

He has also provided seven top-flight assists and has been an influential figure in a rise towards the top four.

The Gunners are now just one point adrift of the Champions League places and still involved in this season’s pursuit of European football’s grandest prize.

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch