A wake up call for Theodore James Walcott

“I’ve said to the manager that I want to be known for playing on the right again. I can play up front, given the opportunity, and the manager says I can play up front, so it depends on which game it is. I know I can do a job up front as well as on the right, but I want to make my position the right-hand side.”

Walcott has spoken out about his desire to play wide right after Arsenal were linked with Draxler and Mahrez

Walcott has spoken out about his desire to play wide right after Arsenal were linked with Draxler and Mahrez

Well, Theodore James Walcott, this is not exactly what you were saying for the last three years; as an example, in February 2013 you were telling TalkSport: “I just love playing up front, you can wander around anywhere. Not just that, you can create more space for other players when you are quiet and go through patches in the game. Defenders are always wary of my pace and going in behind.”

This sudden u-turn, coming at the exact time you’re slowly disappearing from the headlines and from the Arsenal starting XI, is frankly suspect; the talks of a new striker coming in with the same set of skills that you have – basically pace and movement off the ball – but with a better finishing and a proven goalscoring record, immediately throws you well behind in Arsène Wenger pecking order, behind Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sánchez and the new striker who will eventually join the group.

You risk to lose the power that allowed you to earn a lucrative new contract and have everyone sweating at the idea that you could do a Robin van Persie and force a move out of the Club.

We were all asking you to signdating, twice, but now the scenario has changed – massively.

You’re becoming a peripheral figure at the Club, a last resource to be thrown onto the pitch in case of desperate need of any kind of offensive threat.

Is Theo's time at Arsenal over?

Is Theo’s time at Arsenal over?

Many fans are now losing faith in your ability to be a reliable asset for the team and that has very little to do with your position on the pitch; it’s about the lack of end-product and the apparent lack of hunger you are showing: fans will forget a missed chance, as glorious as it could be, a misplaced pass and a failed take-on but definitely won’t forgive any sign of detachment, like the pathetic jump off a potential tackle with Sunderland’s Younes Kaboul at the Stadium of Light, which could have resulted in the goal we were in desperate need of to keep our title challenge alive.You decided to avoid going into that tackle and it became the sign that it is perhaps time to part ways with the Arsenal.

Personally, I’m not amongst those fans you would like to see you elsewhere than the Emirates Stadium; instead, I’m confident you can be an excellent striker and valuable option for Arsène Wenger but this surprising change of mind is perceived as a sign of weakness: you stated loud and clear that you wanted to be a striker and now you’re coming back on your steps, on the back of a very underwhelming year and a lot of criticism – my advice would be to keep your mouth shut, play in any position Arsène Wenger asks you to play and give your best for the team – not for Theo Walcott himself.

Stop telling the media where you want to play, what you can do, the qualities you can show – just play and let the pitch do the talk. Whether it is as an atypical lone striker or as a winger – or even at full-back – just PLAY!

At times Walcott needs to show more willingness playing in an Arsenal shirt

At times Walcott needs to show more willingness playing in an Arsenal shirt

Fight for your teammates and for the badge, leave every single drop of sweat on the pitch and you would have done more for yourself and your reputation among fans that any word can do. Your time is running out, Theodore, and this time there won’t be another big-money renewal waiting for your signature.



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4 Responses to A wake up call for Theodore James Walcott

  1. Nigel Benson August 4, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

    Walcott is the most disappointing player I’ve seen in 40 years as an Arsenal fan.
    He has always had potential. But he has no heart, no pride.
    As a lifelong Gooner, I just can’t accept that.

  2. Victor Thompson August 9, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

    This article and the content of Nigel`s reply say it all. From being an enthusiastic supporter of Theo, I have become a confirmed critic. Other players with less talent have been forgiven by the fans as long as they showed that their heart was in Arsenal.

    On the other hand the notorious Adebayor was hated and reviled because he had an amazing talent but he only showed it at the start of the season or when his contract was up for renewal. He went on to replicate that behaviour at every subsequent club he played for. There was never going to be a way back for him.

    In Theo`s case he was loved when he played as he did in his last match against Spurs and injured his leg. As has happened many times before, he was absent for months until his leg healed. Unfortunately it coincided with a glut of injuries to other players and a slump in our position in the league. It was also time to renew his contract. Whether his agent was responsible or not for what happened, his contract negotiations were painfully slow and he held the club to ransom. Eventually Wenger agreed to improve his salary to £140,000 per week.

    Sanchez had been given an increase in his salary which had been a reward for the fantastic form he had displayed on his arrival and especially for the heroic efforts he put in on the pitch. The fans took him to their hearts. Alas, Theo was nothing like Sanchez. He did not put the effort in and he moaned about not being allowed to play as a centre forward. That chance came when Giroud was injured and he made a reasonable attempt at it. It was not to last and it was common to see him isolated high up the field waiting for the ball and making no effort to track back and assist the midfield. His touch deserted him and he lost possession frequently. At the same time he squandered good scoring chances.

    The new season has offered him another chance to redeem himself due to players not yet having returned after the Euros. He has played in three games, Viking, Gothenburg and latterly, Man. City. He played well in all three, but very definitely at his best against City. I think the bad press he got at the end of last season and the indifference of the fans as to whether he stays or goes appears to have got through to him. He varied between playing up the middle and making runs from the wing and he generally caused havoc in the defences of all three teams. He made two assists and scored two very good goals and in short we had the old Theo back. There is no doubt that he is a handful when he plays like that and I only hope that he maintains that form in the coming weeks.

    I don`t know if Wenger has been impressed enough to make him a first choice because the Ox has also come back rejuvenated and he has played well. We have real competition now in all positions except CF and CB which we are still acutely short of. I hope that he realises that he may have gained a reprieve from the resentment felt by many fans and resolves to keep his performances up to what we know he can do.

    I wish him well in his endeavours and I for one am prepared to give him a second chance. If he fails to put the effort in< I don`t think he will get any further chances before Arsene decides to recoup some of the money which I hope he will have spent by selling him off.

  3. Nigel Benson August 9, 2016 at 5:26 pm #

    Very sanguine thoughts, Victor, and I agree with every word.
    I, too, would love to see Theo flourish at Arsenal.
    My criticism only reflects my disappointment.
    I’ve always viewed him as a devastating right-winger and his pretentions of grandiosity have not endeared him.
    He owes us an Henry-esque five years.
    If he does that, all is forgiven 😉

  4. Tim Hargreaves August 13, 2016 at 11:11 am #

    Good article by Andrea, but you left out one thing:

    That dive vs. Palace.

    That one thing completely swung me against Walcott. He showed his true colours there, in that his only interest is in the England National team and not Arsenal. He could have comfortably dinked the ball past Delaney (at 35, really not quick) and scored, but he chose to fall over and sit on his backside on the pitch. Completely useless. The Club would be better off just paying off his contract like they did with Andre Santos (he was fat but STILL put in more effort than Walcott)

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