Walcott praises Arsenal boss Wenger after injury nightmare

AFP , Sunday 31 May 2015

Theo Walcott celebrates after scoring the first goal for Arsenal (Photo: Reuters)

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott thanked manager Arsene Wenger for trusting him on the big occasion after the Gunners demolished Aston Villa 4-0 in Saturday's FA Cup final.

"I want to thank the manager for picking me and having faith in me and hopefully I repaid him," said the 26-year-old striker, who netted the opening goal in a dynamic performance as he completes his rehabilitation from a serious knee injury.

"To be part of it this year is a dream come true," added Walcott. "My family are here and I have worked so hard, as has everyone to do this."

Midfielder Aaron Ramsey, the match winner in last year's final against Hull, said it was a "great feeling" to secure two cups in as many years.

"We really wanted this one," he told BBC Radio 5.

"Winning back-to-back FA Cups is not an easy thing to do and we have done it. Now we can look forward to next season and kick on and give it a real go in the Premier League."

Man of the Match Santi Cazorla said his team had "played very well" and paid tribute to Alexis Sanchez, who gave the Gunners breathing space with a stunning goal to make it 2-0.

"We played with intensity and if we play like that we will get the title next year," said the Spaniard.

"We are lucky Alexis Sanchez plays for us."

German defender Per Mertesacker put his team's win down to their aggressive style.

"We played on the front foot from the start and that makes a massive difference," said the World Cup winner.

"Last year we suffered in the first-half but today we scored regularly and gave what we needed.

"It is a good way to finish off the season and I can look forward to my first holiday since retiring from international football.

"Hopefully we will start next season on the front foot but first we celebrate this victory."

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