Theo Walcott defended his decision to celebrate after his goal against Arsenal and said scoring for boyhood club Southampton was always a ‘massive thing’ for him personally.
The 31-year-old forward, who spent 12 years with the Gunners after leaving Southampton back in 2006, couldn’t hide his delight after breaking the deadlock in the 18th minute of Wednesday’s 1-1 draw – a reaction which infuriated many Arsenal fans on Twitter.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang found an equaliser for the hosts shortly after half-time and Mikel Arteta’s men held on for a point after Gabriel was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 62nd minute.
Nathan Redmond and Rob Holding struck the crossbar at opposite ends of the pitch as neither side could find a winner in a tense finish to the dramatic Premier League clash.
Asked about his controversial celebration, Southampton goalscorer Walcott told Amazon Prime Video: ‘I always feel like scoring a goal, no matter who you play for, is one of the best feelings.
‘Yeah, I scored many goals here but I’m in a Southampton shirt right now and playing for Southampton is a massive thing for me, personally, and to score a goal… why not? Why wouldn’t I celebrate?
‘It was a really good goal.’
Walcott admitted he was disappointed not to come away from his former stomping ground with all three points.
‘That’s some fantastic players there,’ he replied when told that only Robin van Persie and Olivier Giroud have scored more goals at the stadium.
‘I played with some great stars at Arsenal and now with Southampton team… it’s a shame.
‘It feels like we’ve sort of lost two points but we probably would have taken that at the start of the game.’
The England international quickly turned his attentions towards Southampton’s ‘very difficult’ match with Manchester City at the weekend.
‘I feel very fit and sharp and the goal typified it all, to be honest. It’s the standard goal I tend to score, making that out to in run and chipping the ‘keeper,’ he added.
‘I was pleased with that so now we need to recover.
‘We’ve got a very difficult game at the weekend which we all can’t wait for.’
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