Walcott might wonder if he is fighting a World Cup curse but insists: 'I've bounced back before and it's made me stronger'
The irony of the situation was not lost on two of the stretcher-bearers, who found themselves in the line of fire as they carried Theo Walcott from the closing stages of Arsenal's 2-0 FA Cup home win over Tottenham Hotspur on 4 January.
"Yeah, two of them were Spurs fans," Walcott says with a smile, but they were not laughing at the time, as the coins came down on them from the visiting end of the Emirates Stadium. The travelling Tottenham support had seen red at the sight of Walcott depicting the scoreline at them with his hands.
"The guys actually said: 'Theo, can you stop now?'" Walcott continues. "I did stop eventually, as soon as I got in front of the Arsenal fans, and they were throwing scarves. I stopped, yeah. I will have to treat those guys to some cupcakes or something."
Walcott says that the coins were already being thrown when he performed the gesture that, it has to be said, gave belly-laughs to the home crowd. Jack Wilshere said Walcott would "be an Arsenal legend now".
"I don't regret it at all," Walcott says. "All the stewards and the doctors were getting stuff peppered at them even before. Me and Tottenham … you always do that banter. They do it to me. I do it to them. I have seen some Tottenham fans since then and they have said that, if it was one of their players, they would have loved it. It was just a bit of fun."
Walcott was feeling good and not only because he and Arsenal had stuck one over their neighbours. He had entered the tie with five goals in five games and, better still, he had started as the centre-forward; he has long pleaded with Arsène Wenger for greater opportunity in what he considers his best position.
Moreover, as the adrenaline coursed his system, Walcott felt no pain following the innocuous coming-together with the Spurs full-back Danny Rose. He says that he heard something "pop" but, the following day, the left knee did not seem too bad, even though it was clear that there was something wrong with the ligaments.
When he checked in for an appointment with the specialist the day after that, he expected to be told he faced a lay-off of about four weeks. What followed hit with the force of a hammer. The cruciate ligament had ruptured. His season, and his part in Arsenal's push for the Premier League title, was over. And, the final insult, he would miss another World Cup with England.
"The day after wasn't too bad and then, when it swelled up … obviously, there was a lot of damage but we didn't know the extent of it," Walcott says. "It probably did hit me quite hard. It would hit anybody hard. I try not to think about that day, really."
Walcott has just hobbled into the media suite at Arsenal's training ground to give his first interview since the injury. It is exactly seven weeks since he was operated on by the leading surgeon, Andy Williams, at London's Cromwell Hospital and, if each day has brought mental and physical challenges, there have also been regular indicators of progress.
The leg brace came off and the crutches went on Tuesday while he returned to driving an automatic car on Thursday, which was good news for his various chauffeurs, including his father, Don, and his wife, Mel. "I'm a terrible back-seat driver," Walcott says. "They are probably pleased to get rid of me from their cars."
Walcott has done a bit of work on the exercise bike and some walking in the swimming pool but it remains a gruelling road to fitness – the doctors hope to have him back in the early part of next season – and, were he to have darker moments, he might wonder whether he is fighting a World Cup curse.
Picked as a 17-year-old by Sven-Goran Eriksson, he did not play at Germany 2006 while he was cut, at the last, by Fabio Capello for South Africa 2010. Capello later admitted that Walcott's omission had been a mistake. "It was nice of him to say that," Walcott says, but it changed nothing. And now this.
Walcott does not seem to have darker moments or, at least, he has not had any since the day that the specialist gave him the bad news. Perhaps it is because the last seven weeks or so have been a whirlwind and the grind has yet to grip or, more likely, he knows that, despite the injury, he has so much to be grateful for, including the impending arrival of his first child. Mel is due in May and Walcott will be able to attend the birth.
"It's a silver lining, I suppose," Walcott says. "A lot of footballers miss out on the birth of their children and you don't get those days back. The baby is the one thing that keeps me going."
Walcott is remorselessly upbeat and it is no mere coping mechanism. He simply does not see the point of negativity. He says that, unusually for an injured player, he is an "easy watcher" and he has become an enthusiastic Emirates Stadium-going fan at what is an exciting time for Arsenal. He also says that he will be fully behind England in Brazil.
It is remarkable to think that he is only 24 and, having packed so much in, he takes the long-term view when looking forward. There will be other seasons and there will be another World Cup.
"I don't want to look at six months' time," Walcott says. "I want to look at 10-15 years and still be playing. I've bounced back before and it's made me stronger."