Theo Walcott has said he "fully deserves" to play for Arsenal after he scored in the Gunners' 2-2 Champions League draw with Schalke.
Walcott had not started a Premier League or Champions League match since the opening day of the season against Sunderland until last night, and vindicated manager Arsène Wenger's decision to play him with the opening goal at the Veltins-Arena.
Arsenal raced into a 2-0 lead after Olivier Giroud doubled their advantage but strikes from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Jefferson Farfán denied them victory.
Walcott, whose contract expires at the end of the campaign, scored his eighth goal of the season and was adamant he warranted a starting berth.
Walcott celebrates the opener at Schalke
"I just want to play," the 23-year-old said said after the match, "and hopefully now I can get a run in the team because I feel I fully deserve it. It was a good point."
When asked whether his omissions were owed to his contract dispute, the England international replied: ""You have to ask the manager that question. I can't answer that."
Wenger was complimentary about Walcott as he evaded a direct response. "He did very well," the Frenchman said. "His attitude was positive and he was fresh as well. You always felt he could make a difference and it was no coincidence that he had the chance in the final minute."
Arsenal are on seven points and placed second in their group with two games remaining. Should they beat Montpellier at the Emirates and Schalke defeat Olympiakos at home in a fortnight then both teams will progress to the last 16 with one match remaining.