The years have flown by for Theo Walcott, a long time has passed since the baby-faced 16-year-old joined the Gunners in 2006 with some fantastic memories slightly blotched by several frustrating injury spells. The Englishman should really be leagues ahead of where he is now, but now the clubs longest-serving player, there is still much to come from the winger-cum-striker who is entering his prime years.
Walcott has been a typical example of a youngster burdened with massive expectations. He’s struggled with numerous injuries that just seem to keep coming at the wrong moment, missing out on the World Cup and his first Arsenal trophy in 2014 was a huge blow, but he responded emphatically scoring the opener while starting in his favoured centre forward position at Wembley last year in the FA Cup final.
It’s been very much an undulating journey so far for the Englishman. He remains dedicated to the Arsenal cause and is a vital weapon in Arsene Wenger’s armory on his day. His blistering pace will lessen over the coming years, but can he transition similarly to Thierry Henry into a well rounded center forward that can make intelligent runs? If he can find some consistency in his finishing – certainly. The basics are there, he just needs that extra push to step up another level.
A long time has passed since he was heavily relied upon during our transition into a title contender. Previously a sure starter and one of the first names on the team sheet, now Theo is not even a guaranteed starter on the wing when everyone is fit. But that appears to have aided his fitness and has helped him remain around the first team squad for most of this campaign. He’s now not relied upon as much and Wenger can manage him a little more carefully.
Walcott’s well-rounded performance against Manchester City is what we need to see more. The work ethic was Alexis-esk, while his emphatic finish was Henry’s bread and butter. Walcott’s comparison with his hero will never be shaken. But he still have some way to go to be half the striker the Frenchman was.
Wenger said it perfectly recently in an interview – Walcott is entering a ‘decisive phase’ in his career (via Telegraph). There is certainly a lot more to come from the Englishman especially as he is now able to gain some consistent game time, but will he ever realize his potential? For Arsenal’s sake you can only hope so.