Theo Walcott proved last night in the England senior team’s 6-nil crushing of Andorra that he is close to the final product. His contribution to setting up Lampard’s goal was an example of Theo providing end product after a blistering run down the flanks. All night he was subjected to rough tackles and often ran himself into the corners, but he showed maturity that I have not seen from our prospective future striker. If he can cut in more and develop his left foot, then we will have a Walcott on fire for next season’s crucial Premiership campaign.
He now joins the England Under 21 squad for the European Tournament in Sweden, and all talk of the rift between himself and Arsene Wenger will be forgotten, providing he returns without injury. The dispute between Arsene Wenger and Stuart Pearce was revealed by the England under twenty one coach, who said that he had a polite disagreement with Mr Wenger, but Pearce felt that it was in the interests of the player to go such a Tournament, especially as he had played in seven of the eight qualifiers. Theo himself has already given his approval for playing in both squads, in view of the fact that he had missed four months of last season recovering from surgery on his shoulder.
Arsene Wenger said:
‘My feeling is that I am against it, and I have let the FA know that he shouldn’t play in both national teams during the holiday period. ‘It is difficult for us to accept that, but the rules are on the sides of the federation, and we cannot do anything about it.
‘But I have let them know that it is not logical that he plays for the first team and the Under-21s during the holiday period, they finish on June 28 and we start training on July 6.’
‘I have nothing against the senior side, that is the normal FIFA dates. The basic problem is can you use a player for two different national teams during the holiday period?
‘I do not want to stop Theo from playing for the Under-21s, but during the holiday period, they should choose one or the other. Of course he wants to play, and I can understand that as well.’
Rather than this being the typical “Club versus Country” debate, I can understand why Arsene Wenger wants a fresh Theo Walcott, free from injury for next season. Having signed his new contract, Arsene Wenger might have expected more loyalty from the player I suppose. But in standing up for himself, I believe that Theo’s defiance of his manager’s views can only be good for the team. Theo badly needs high quality games where he can practise those skills that will take him to the next level. I support him in his stance and hope that he comes through the Tournament unscathed.
Theo was reported to have said..
‘I had four months out, so I am looking forward to it,’ said Walcott. ‘You want to pull on an England shirt, for whatever age group. I am ready for the challenge and it will be a great experience for my career.’
The prospect of him developing extra moves to get around defenders, and perhaps using his left foot more, will be a great opportunity in tense competitive fixtures. Far from this being a spoilt overpaid youngster showing disrespect for his club and Manager, I believe that Theo realises that he must deliver the goods next season, if Arsenal are to make that step up to the level of success. Theo Walcott’s role will be crucial if he can add regular goal scoring from his wide positions. We as fans should see this as Theo coming of age and at last delivering consistent performances of the kind that we have only had glimpses of over the last two seasons. I wish him luck, and remain firmly of the view that Theo’s defiance can only be good for Arsenal. What do you think?
Fabregas the King.