American soccer closing in on Premier League standard, says Theo Walcott

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The standard of soccer in the U.S. is closing in on the high-water mark being set in England's Premier League, according to Arsenal forward Theo Walcott.

The England international is in California ahead of the Gunners' clash with Major League Soccer's All-Stars on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), and told reporters that the growth of the game in America is easy to see.

"I'm sure American soccer, as you guys call it, is actually gaining very close to Premier League standard, definitely," Walcott said following Wednesday's training session. "There's a lot of players that have come from England to America. The game's growing, it's getting bigger and that's exactly what we want."

After making just 15 starts in the Premier Legaue last season, the former Southampton prodigy was linked with a move to West Ham in the spring, but rumours of Walcott leaving Arsenal have died down in the peak of the summer transfer window. If not a move across London, the 27-year-old was asked if he could envision himself joining an MLS club.

"It's something you can never rule out, of course," Walcott told reporters. "But my future's [at Arsenal] for now, and we'll see where it takes me in the future."

As for the reason Arsenal are in the U.S., the Englishman is revelling in the opportunity to be a part of an American tradition. And he noted that it's a match unlike anything else on home soil.

"When I was a kid we always used to hear about the All-Stars, obviously with basketball, and to actually be involved in an All-Star match against America's best is great to be part of, to be honest," Walcott said. "Hopefully there will be more and more of this, and hopefully we can show what the Premier League's about."

The Arsenal forward is expecting his side to showcase their quickness on the break when they meet the stars of MLS. And Walcott expects Kaka, David Villa & Co. to move the ball around the Avaya Stadium pitch with verve come Thursday night.

"We are all about movement, quick movement, one-touch finishing and counter-attacking," he said. "That's what we're about, that's what I'm about. I'm sure they're going to have a lot of the ball and hopefully play into our hands.

"Everyone needs to remember you can't forget what to do. Everyone is doing their jobs, and as long we do that I'm sure we'll get a good result."