Celebrating Theo Walcott – A Stalwart at Arsenal
Theo Walcott may be 26-years-old but for those that don’t know, he has spent 10 years at Arsenal.
His career began at Southampton but the Gunners snapped him up at a very young age and nurtured him to become a man in every sense of the word. Back in the day, he was ‘just’ known for his pace but with each passing season, Walcott added some more into his game and 10 years, Arsenal fans can be proud of the player he has become.
From his first goal against Chelsea in the 2007 Carling Cup final to his 81st goal against Manchester City this season, Walcott is one player that will always give you that edge in attack. His battle with Olivier Giroud at the start of the season was quite interesting but in recent weeks he has been drafted to an unfamiliar left wing position, and he hasn’t lit many fireworks there. However, you cannot fault his defensive work and his spirit, as he has matured to an all round player, which is something his manager can be rightly proud of.
The 2012/13 season will always stand out for Walcott as he achieved his personal best of 21 goals in a single campaign but injuries have been one of the biggest thorns in Walcott’s flesh and I feared for the worst when he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury that sidelined him for up to a year. Since his return to first team action, he has made his contributions to the team with some goals and as long as he remains in the team, there’s always a chance that he could find the back of the net.
It hasn’t always been peachy and creamy with Walcott though. Off the pitch, his contractual issue was a pain in the arse for the Gunners and there was a collective sigh of relief when he put pen to paper. On the pitch, there are loads of games when Walcott becomes so anonymous, that you tend to wonder if he was selected at all. The last game against Stoke was a harsh reminder of that – Alex Iwobi proibably had more touches in the 15 minutes he played than Walcott in 75, and you see the impact the young Nigerian tried to make in the little time he was allotted on the pitch.
But that’s the Theo Walcott we have come to know – brilliant on some days, pretty much shite on others, but we love him nonetheless.
On the international scene, Walcott hit the back pages when Sven Goran Eriksson took him to 2006 World Cup in Germany but was a surprise omission in 2010 World Cup, especially after he scored a scintillating hat-trick in the qualifier against Croatia. He got his first stint of an international tournament with his nation when he was selected for Euro 2012 and he made an impact in England’s 3-2 win over Sweden where he leveled the tie at 2-2 before providing an assist for Danny Welbeck.
With England being one of the first teams to qualify for the European Championships this summer, Walcott played his part with three goals in the qualifiers, taking his overall tally for his nation to eight goals in 42 appearances.
At just 26, he’s already due for a testimonial at Arsenal, but we would have to wait for quite some time because he’s not ready to hang those fast boots anytime soon. He already has 320 appearances for the Gunners, and I won’t be surprised when he hits 400 in the next two to three seasons.
Here’s to Walcott – Arsenal’s stalwart
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