Will The real Theo Walcott Please Stand Up?
It’s one of those days you wake up and should be happy irrespective of what happened the night before. How I wish I could tell myself that and believe it. Remember my last post which said to pray for all Arsenal fans on International duty to come out unscathed? Well they did, some even excelling by putting in strong displays and scoring a la Fabregas, Bendtner, Sagna, Song. If only the same could be said about Arsenal’s scariest and most explosive talent,Theo Walcott. Each time Theo is on the field of play I get excited knowing how devastating he can be, but gradually it’s becoming a tale of how devastating he USED to be. One can’t help but wonder WHAT HAPPENED? Where did it all go wrong? Frankly Theo doesn’t look like someone who can be carried away by the mass hysteria OR can he OR has he? All these questions continue to swarm around and so far they’ve all gone begging. So I said why not highlight a few of the problems(which have become rather obvious to all Gooners worldwide). Here goes…
Majority of the questions need to be directed at the English FA, the national team manager, Don Fabio Capello and U-21 manager Stuart Pearce. One could argue in their favour by saying coaches have the right to call any player provided that he is eligible for that team and the player whether he likes it or not must comply, given that it was during the off-season. Why blame them then you ask? Theo had endured a season in which he played more games than he’d ever played for Arsenal in a season appearing in the League, League Cup, FA Cup and the Champions League with injuries sandwiched in between. He had a more than average season and an explosive year for England (remember THAT hat-trick against Croatia), so he could be forgiven for thinking he was going to have a breather this past summer. Little did he and Arsene know that Pearce and Capello had other plans. He was called up for the U-21 European Championships which lasted 2 weeks and immediately after that was called up to the senior squad despite all of Arsene’s protests. That was where it all went down-hill. As the season started,Theo picked up an injury which coincided with a dip in form also compounded by injury after injury. We all know how that has played out don’t we?
It is also not out of place to question Le Boss. How? Why? Theo came to Arsenal at the same age Fabregas joined and look at what different paths they have taken. Both players(like all Arsenal youngsters) have one thing in common,”Wengerball”. My sole reason for questioning Wenger is that it looks like he hasn’t quite managed Theo’s wengerball skills well. This same lad used to strike fear into opposing defenders, Maldini, Riise, Corluka, Bale are all testaments to that. But you should have noticed that of late, he hardly gets a sniff against top class full backs, the likes of Evra and Cashley. One should also observe the change in fortunes in Aaron Lennon and Theo. Lennon has become what Walcott used to be(fast,scary,raw and exciting to watch) while Walcott has mirrored Lennon’s former self (naive,poor final ball,one directional and ineffective). Even though I am 100% sure who the better player is (Theo of course!), Lennon has learnt to improve on other aspects of the game asides his pace and so far has yielded dividends. The way he now rips apart full backs and sometimes centre-backs is simply awe-inspiring, his final ball which was rubbish is also now top class.
Wenger has possibly not imposed on Theo the need to develop and fine-tune his dribbling and crossing skills. There’s no game I don’t writhe in agony seeing him give away the ball while trying to use his pace instead of beating his man. Why can’t he dribble? why can’t he take simple passes in his stride? why doesn’t he know when to run and cross? There is absolutely no doubting Theo’s talents, and he’s had some amazing moments (Liverpool anyone?) but I feel he needs to be dynamic and less predictable for defenders and then prove his worth that he truly deserves to be on that summer flight to Madiba’s homeland. The media must also do their part and back off him,no one goes through so many injuries in one season and still plays like at their top form, not even Messi!
I trust him to excel and disappoint all his detractors by putting in a string of solid displays during the run in and as Capello pointed out, he just needs to play as much as possible, get his confidence back and we’ll all see the dude Arsene put his trust and spent so much money on. It’s VERY possible but believe you me, it’s not going to be easy.
From wherever you are reading, keep the faith and have fun.
Escobar says so!