Theo shoulders responsibility

Theo Walcott muffed his best chance of scoring yesterday after coming on as a second-half sub in the 3-0 win over Hull City at the Emirates.
Had he scored it would have been timely, given that in this morning’s News of the World, the young Gunners star gives a revealing interview in which he moans about the sort of pressure he is under from opposition defenders.
“I am 21 in March and this is a defining year for me,” Walcott admits. “Definitely a big year. Once you are 21, you want to be starting for your club and then hopefully your country on regular basis.
“Obviously for me, one of the highlights of my career so far is to have become the youngest player to have scored a hat-trick for England against Croatia last year. But I don’t want to always be remembered for being the youngest England player to score a hat-trick. I need to look at that game and see what I did well and use it as a springboard.
“With the injuries I have had, it has set me back a bit since then. I need to get back to that level. I need to get MORE involved and I need to get MORE goals. First and foremost, I need to get a consistent run in the Arsenal side. That has to be the focus. I can’t start looking too far ahead.
“So far this season has been frustrating from a personal point of view. I had no pre-season really then I have a series of unlucky injuries. But now I am back, I’ve had a little run so going into Christmas and the New Year I’m looking at that and saying this is when my season starts.”
“I am definitely not injury prone – I was born with dysfunctional shoulders.” he explains. “My dad had shoulder problems. It’s a genetic thing. I have had operations on both shoulders to stop them from keep popping out and I am confident now that things will be fine. I haven’t had to change my game now but there was a time when it was affecting me.
“Once it started dislocating during a match and it was then popped back, you wouldn’t see me for the rest of the game, it was that painful. It was towards the end of the season two years ago.
“The shoulders were popping out every game and I wasn’t playing well. No one knew about it but there were some games when one of the shoulders was popping out five or six times in a match.
“I have to admit I’d be drifting in and out of those game a lot. Then when it came out I was going to need an operation, a lot of players started taking advantage and whacking me around. “Players were targeting me. It was getting too much.
“I remember a game at Everton, there were hailstones, the worst weather ever. I just fell over, dislocated my shoulder and had to come off. I knew then I’d had enough and I needed to deal with the problem.”
Back to the win over Hull, and the Mail quotes AW thus: ‘For me the most important thing was the win. We were a bit lucky because Almunia saved us with the penalty but after that I still felt we deserved to win.
‘We are in the fight, This team want success. They deserve success. Let’s be humble and consistent.’
The Times reports that the match had been relatively low-key until, minutes before half-time, every player on the field — with the exception of William Gallas — was involved in a melee after Sami Nasri had apparently stamped on Richard Garcia.
The consequence, after lengthy deliberation by referee Steve Bennett, was bookings for Nasri and Stephen Hunt. For the former, it could well have been a red, and even Wenger conceded: “Maybe yes, but it was difficult to see if he stamped on his foot.” Brown said he was “astounded” by Nasri’s reaction.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Mirror reports that AW has suffered a major setback after Dutch superstar Rafael van der Vaart revealed he will snub any move to the Premier League in January.
The paper says Arsenal have been strongly linked with a £6million move for the Real Madrid midfielder in January as Wenger looks to add more experience to his young squad.
Van der Vaart has struggled to command a regular first-team place at the Bernabeu and fell even further down the pecking order following the arrival of Kaka during the summer.
The Dutch international revealed at the start of the season that he would love a move into the Premier League and it is said we were hoping to clinch his signature at the start of January.

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