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Is Theo Walcott Still A Playground Player?
Footytubeblog (Blog) 5 years ago
At school there was always at least one kid who could run rings around the rest. He’d fly around the pitch and score at will. No one could get near him. Theo Walcott was undoubtedly one of these kids, (he scored over 100 goals for his local side Newbury in his one season there) but has he successfully matured in the way people would have hoped or is he still playing like a kid in the park? At the age of 22 it would be massively premature to write him off but right now he doesn’t seem to have developed much from the schoolboy sensation that arrived at Arsenal at 17.

Walcott has phenomenal pace and an accurate, composed finish. It was these attributes that caught the eye and led to the wild proclamations that the next Thierry Henry had arrived. He certainly hasn’t yet. Walcott arrived with these skills and they remain his selling point. Five years down the line his final ball is still lacking and, despite his best attempts to bulk up in the gym over the last couple of years, his build is too slight for him to impact much over the 90 minutes. He is still outmuscled constantly and his dribbling relies on flat-out pace rather than any subtlety. Too often he will knock the ball too far ahead of him or just run it out of play as though he’s unable to control the ball and his own speed at the same time.

Walcott was unlucky to arrive so publicly. Not everyone can live up to the hype, (especially when the English media are doing the hyping) and he has played with huge expectation on his shoulders since his arrival at Arsenal. Unfortunately his high profile means that his career has been watched from the start and the most damning evidence of his lack of improvement is that people still talk about the three moments where he looked like a future star: His hat-trick for England against Croatia, his run against Liverpool at Anfield and his run against AC Milan. These moments were supposed to be the first of many, (like Rooney’s goal against Arsenal when he was 16) not the highlights of his career. His runs were the moments when his schoolboy football came good - tons of space against tired legs. He was blisteringly fast and looked fantastic but he has failed to add to this natural talent.

It would be great to make it at a professional level whilst still playing like a kid. Lionel Messi may be the finest example of this but Messi is tough as old boots, with Walcott if the left back goes through him a couple of times he fades away, loses that freedom and fails to make the impact that everybody still expects five years on.

This blog does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of footytube or its partners.
[account-removed] 5 years ago
I agree he is not an amazing winger. But from an outsiders perspective this season if he werent there arsenal would be doing way worse then they are now. His performance against Udinese wasnt outstanding but it made the difference and him and van persie against united were teh only possitive in the team when it comes to team stats.

Heis no aaron lennon moreover he is no Pennant dare I say. But the way the premiership is as a league with its form of rush football in otherwords the closest thing to playground football he is a quick player though he has the touch of a rapist and teh physical presence of an 11 year old thsi will undoubtedly improve with age.

Ps. English football fans don't take this as an attack cauz I won't deny the premiership is the best league in the world and teams like man city have affectively bought out most teh talent the world has. Love it how foreigners own your clubs especially arabs lol/
JulioFC (Inter Milan) 5 years ago
I completely agree. Especially the last thing you said about the foreigners
Brod40 (Arsenal) 5 years ago
Good article. I think part of the problem, as is true for so many Arsenal players, is that his talents are poorly applied by his manager.
Arsene has a very deliberate system that he sticks to, regardless of personnel.
Theo is just not a winger - not enough control, not a good crosser, not enough guile.
I think Theo would be much better deployed alongside a target man in a 2-striker system.... But this is AW we're talking about.... So I'll keep dreaming

Tanmay (Footytube Moderator) 5 years ago
Not sure what you're talking about mate. Walcott IS going to be used as an inside forward from this season on, as long as injuries don't force AW to use him as winger. So Wenger is a few steps ahead of you
Illwill989 (Barcelona) 5 years ago
AW is a bum.... No EPL team should lose to Man UTD 8-2
Borg (Manchester United) 5 years ago
What exactly does that have to do with this article?
Wah2317 (Arsenal) 5 years ago
Lol wa***r
ScouserDan (Liverpool) 5 years ago
He's just trying to be an arse wipe. AW a bum? Show some respect FFS
Hardstone (NE Revolution) 5 years ago
Alls I know is Arsenal look bad.... Real bad. Walcott isn't going to help their ridiculous defence. He wouldn't be critisied so much if Arsenal hadn't been preforming like donkeys lately. Didn't he score against MU?
Donnchadh (Liverpool) 5 years ago
When I was reading this I was reminded of Zizou, the guy has absolutely no pace, a school kid could probably beat him in a foot race, but he had touch comparable to god. His instinct wasn't to run past a player but to make them run past him, fooling them while slowly rolling the ball around his feet and around the pitch. Dennis Bergkamp was a similar type of player, they didn't need pace because they had infinite class and skill. They got better with age as well, I don't think Theo will. He can still impact a match but he just doesn't have that special quality, Cruijff and Best had amazing pace as well but they had that element of grace and different ability to go with it. Mane Garrincha could outrun people but he would put his foot on the ball and do something people didn't expect, Walcott is too predictable.

Now these are all players, considered some of the greatest of all time and it's unfair to compare Theo to them because he just isn't on their level. Maybe a similar player would be Joaquin Sanchez, unbeliavable flat out speed, but Joaquin plays top top balls into the box. And he can make space for himself without just trying to run past someone, he is one of the first I ever saw pull the hocus pocus.

Walcott is good, but I agree with you I don't know if he will every take his game to the next level
Dubumang (Manchester United) 5 years ago
Good insights across this page. Walcott was amazing to watch when he was in form and the goals were coming steadily. After a while, he just faded away. Not sure why his cross is still poor, that is something a little training would fix in less than a season. I agree to play him more central like a shadow striker with pace. Either that or improve his end product, much like lennon has learned to do. To some extent
Matt (Footytube Staff) 5 years ago
When Walcott played for Southampton he was occasionally deployed as a winger but found most success as a striker. This is in the Championship where his lack of physical presence made it very difficult.

I think Wenger is trying too hard to turn him into the new Henry (Henry started his playing life as a winger before moving to centre forward). It's not like Arsenal have a wealth of attacking options up front so I say play him in his best position
MUMatt (Manchester United) 5 years ago
I wonder what his effort in training is like.... Or how hard he works off the training grounds. I'm a fan but I'm affraid that he just isn't doing what he personally needs to do in order to address his defaults. He's got immense athletic ability but I think that Newburry experience may have crippled his mentality in thinking he doesn't need to work very hard. There's a great book out, I believe it's called "Talent is Overrated" or something like that. I think it's a great read for all athletes
Borg (Manchester United) 5 years ago
Walcott's speed is what makes him a decent player. In a traditional sense he is an extremely poor winger. As mentioned he has absolutely no crossing ability, no touch and also his shot isn't anything special. He has often been compared to aaron lennon whom I think is a much better winger. The problem with playing Walcott as a striker is that he will be unable to hold the ball up in any way and his aerial presence won't be great either. I feel like when he first came on the scene at 17 I thought he was going to be a star but he never developed the key tools leaving me feeling let down
Saban101 (Arsenal) 5 years ago
I agree a 100 %. I think there was too much hype placed on him
Rudy64agape (Arsenal) 5 years ago
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Filsuf (Arsenal) 5 years ago
Walcott has athletic abilities that not many in the game have. And full credit to him for using it effectively. We live in an age of specialization. Walcott is a specialist at running behind defenders and finishing it off with a goal. Very efficient player. If he can keep doing this consistently for Arsenal and England for the next 10 years, that's good enough for me. An unspectacular run-of-the-mill winger who can merely dribble can be found on the cheap. But when you have a player with unstoppable pace and scores goals freely, that's special!
Braylann (CA Boca Juniors) 5 years ago
I think Walcott should move to Spain or Portugal. His kind of player isn't welcomed as much in England
Araz (Queens Park Rangers) 5 years ago
Walcott was over hyped right from the moment Sven stuck him in the England team when no one had ever heard of him.

He is maturing and getting better all the time, and will eventually develop in to a top Premier League Class (if he hasn't already) or even a decent World Class player, maybe even by the end of this season if he stays injury free.

But whether he can reach legendary status and the heights of the true greats of the game will take a a few more seasons to figure out, truth is though the real legends of the game (playing and retired) were some way above Walcott's level even at 22 so that may well be beyond him already
Jimmyjack (Schalke 04) 5 years ago
I think that he is a class player but arsenal aren't making use of his skill
FootyRulz (Chelsea) 5 years ago
I think the media has been a huge factor in over-hyping walcott. He has loads of talent but he will need time to make the kind of impact that was expected of him
Aaron222 (Chelsea) 5 years ago
He still lacks the football brain imo...
FootyRulz (Chelsea) 5 years ago
Well if that's the problem then maybe it's tactics he needs to work on and not skills
Hardstone (NE Revolution) 5 years ago
Tactics come from the manager first, don't blame Theo for a poor game plan

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