I was struggling to decide what to write for this week’s Arsenal Scrapbook but, thankfully today is Theo Walcott’s birthday, so, happy birthday Theo and thank you for giving me something to write about.
Touted as English football’s next big star, after lighting up Southampton’s first-team at just 16-years-old, Walcott joined Arsenal on January 20th 2006, immediately receiving the tag of ‘the next Thierry Henry’, due to his pace in the attacking third.
Despite not making a single appearance in the 2005/06 season, Walcott was a surprise call up to Sven-Goran Eriksson’s England squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup but, he failed to get on the pitch. International disappointment has been a feature of Walcott’s career, not being picked by Fabio Capello for World Cup 2010 and missing the 2014 tournament through injury.
Despite this disappointment, he has achieved legendary statues at Arsenal.
Walcott has seen many an Arsenal side dismantled in his 10 years at the club but, even when the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri and Thierry Henry left for pastures new, Walcott stayed true to a club he loves, and a club who loves him back.
Although often injured and, at times, inconsistent, the Arsenal faithful have always had a soft spot for Walcott, affectionately referring to him as Theo throughout his time at the club.
Playing in a number of different roles throughout his time at the club, he has always given 100%, occasionally putting in match winning performances, including his sublime hat-trick and two assists in a 7-3 win over Newcastle way back in 2012.
His devastating pace and exciting attacking style are also key to his fan favourite statues. I can tell you from first-hand experience that the buzz and excitement around The Emirates when Theo turns on the burners is truly exhilarating.
His understanding of his role within the club has also been important. Walcott has never moaned during his time in N5, even throughout his 2012/13 contract saga, developing from exciting youngster to important first team player and now to senior squad member, he has constantly adapted and always given everything for the club
Despite not having the bulging trophy cabinet that other Arsenal legends such as Tony Adams have, two FA Cups and two Community Shields represent a good return for a player who stuck with the club through numerous player exoduses and the 12-year trophy drought.
It appears that Walcott’s loyalty to the club his reaping personal rewards, with the 27-year-old currently in the midst of his best scoring season at the club, finding the back of the net 17 times across all competitions, even getting a coffee machine from his wife for his performances…how sweet.
Walcott also recently reached a century of goals for the club, joining the like of Ian Wright, Dennis Bergkamp and Henry on the prestigious list.
With Arsenal also through to the FA Cup semi-final, the chance for Walcott to cap off his best individual season with a trophy is there for the taking.
Although some fans criticise Walcott for not reaching the level that he was expected to, his loyalty and commitment to Arsenal Football Club will always make him a legend in my eyes. Hopefully he can one day solidify this with a Premier Title or even a Champions League trophy.
Either way, we will always love Theo and he will always love us.
Happy Birthday Theo!