Arsenal: Theo Walcott- The new Thierry Henry?

Ok, I won’t get ahead of myself here.

Arsène Wenger in 2006: “Theo Walcott is a very young player, but has already shown in his performances for Southampton that he is a talented player with huge potential. I also like the fact that he is a versatile player who is incredibly dedicated, shows great determination to succeed and is blessed with electric pace. We are delighted Theo has signed for the club and will make a fantastic addition to our squad.”

When Theo Walcott signed for Arsenal in 2006 as a 16 year-old, he came with a big reputation. A lot was put on his shoulders,*cough* Sven, World Cup *cough*, and for a boy of such a young age, it could have proven too much. At least that’s what some pundits would have you believe. Although Theo Walcott has never really lived up to the hype that came with him from Southampton, has he ever really been given the chance?

The alleged successor to the king, Thierry Henry, Theo has shown glimpses of the player many thought he would become. I could copy and paste stats but it would be pointless to be able to compare players, surely it would only be fair to do so if they play in the same position?

To be honest I’m not a very big fan of stats, as human beings we have a measurement for everything, can stats measure a player’s determination or his confidence? Anyway, enough of that. Theo Walcott probably divides opinion amongst Gooners more than any other player. Some see him as too inconsistent to be an Arsenal great, whilst others, including myself, believe he should be given time to gain this consistency.

There is no denying that on his day, Theo Walcott is devastating. He can tear defences apart with his blistering pace, pick out the corner of the goal with a beautifully slotted shot or find the head of a teammate after reaching the by-line. But why, oh, why can he not turn out performances like this week in, week out?

I’m afraid I can’t answer that, but what I can tell you is that Theo is dying for an opportunity to play up front. In the six years that he has been at the Emirates I cannot recall one occasion where he has been given this opportunity. He has served his time, for the majority, as a right winger, and on the odd occasion he is deployed down the left.

Walcott is a direct player, he likes to run at players. He has troubled some of the best full-backs in the world. His main weapons are his dribbling ability and his pace. Fair enough these abilities are best used on the wing, where there is more space, but Theo also has the ability to slot the ball home. He finds himself in great positions and this is no accident, some criticize him for not having a ‘footballing brain’, but I beg to differ.

OK, maybe he doesn’t have the passing ability of Andrea Pirlo, or cannot cross the ball like David Beckham, but is anyone as fast as Theo Walcott? When he gets in behind a defence there is only one outcome, and he won’t be holding the ball up, believe me.

I’m not saying he should replace Giroud, I’m just proposing something that I have wanted to happen for years. Rotation is key to any side battling on four fronts. I think Theo should be given his chance as the number 9 in the Capital One Cup tie vs Coventry, I think he has the ability to strive there. The King started on the wing, Theo can try to emulate this.

And with the creativity in the side at the moment it won’t be long until Theo is on 20-30 goals a year. I truly believe that.


Written by Ken Spring

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