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Where Did It All Go Wrong For Theo Walcott?

Where Did It All Go Wrong For Theo Walcott?
JaffaCake
Tuesday,December 26,2017
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Whatever happened to Theo Walcott? While Arsenal fans are tearing their hair out, worried that their superstar players are running their contracts down ready to move on in the summer, the former golden boy of English football is left kicking his heels in Arsenal’s reserves as his own time at the Emirates ticks down almost unnoticed.

 

Alexis Sanchez and  Mesut Ozil are just two of the Gunners’ big name players who are out of contract in the summer and can sign pre contracts with new clubs to move for free, in just a couple of weeks.

 

Walcott is signed up until the summer of 2019 and may have looked at that as a position of strength in which to reclaim a first team spot this season, but it really isn’t working out.

 

He’s played three first team games in the past three months, two in the Europa League and one in the EFL Cup, and just 46 minutes of Premier League football.

 

Last week, after scoring in the 6-0 Europa League demolition of Bate Borisov, Walcott proudly proclaimed he’d given Arsene Wenger a “selection headache” for the weekend’s trip to his old club Southampton.

 

The fact Walcott didn’t even make the squad for that game speaks volumes for how far he has fallen.

 

Yet this should be the time for Walcott to be hitting his peak. Now aged 28 and always struggling to establish a favourite position between a right winger and centre forward, the current vogue of playing a wide attacker either side of a central striker, or three attacking midfielders behind a number nine, should be perfect for Walcott.

 

Whether 12 years into your career with a club you should still be trying to establish what is your preferred and best playing position is a good question, but surely Walcott has far more chance of a run in the team as the right sided attacker in these formations, rather than the traditional 4-4-2 that saw him stuck on the right touchline without ever being a great crosser of a ball.

 

Summer signing Alexandre Lacazette has joined Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck ahead of Walcott in the queue for a striking position, and even on the right of midfield Alex Iwobi and arguably Mohamed Elneny now look ahead of him, possibly with others too.

 

It’s almost 12 years since Wenger paid an initial £5million to Southampton for Walcott amid a blaze of publicity. He was the most expensive 16 year old in the history of British football, and Wenger called him “a talented player with huge potential” and compared him to Wayne Rooney at that age, although interestingly he cited his versatility as a plus point, something that has probably proved a millstone around his neck.

 

By the end of that season Walcott was off to the World Cup, a huge gamble at 17 and yet to make a first team appearance for Arsenal never mind England, but Sven wanted him and together they headed to Germany.

 

Who would have thought that not only would Walcott not see any action at the 2006 World Cup, he would not be named in Fabio Capello’s 2010 squad for South Africa, and was injured and not considered for Roy Hodgson’s boys in Brazil in 2014.

 

At the end of this season England go to Russia for another World Cup, but Walcott has never seemed so far away from making his World Cup debut as he does right now.

 

Maybe the January transfer window will provide an opportunity for a move away from Arsenal and a late charge into Gareth Southgate’s plans, but with just 180 League appearances, and 250 in total over his 13 seasons, realistically Walcott is looking to save a career that promised much, has delivered little, and is in danger of drifting away into obscurity.

 
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