Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted that he almost substituted Theo Walcott in the North-London derby yesterday after the Englishman had a torrid first half, looked bereft of confidence and was receiving the raw end of the stick from gunners fans.
The Frenchman will be glad he didn’t though as Walcott turned the tables in the second half and capped off the night with a superb brace that put the tie out of Tottenham’s reach.
Wenger said on almost substituting Walcott:
The crowd were starting to get on his back and you wonder if you’re doing him a favour if you leave him on.
But I felt that he has the qualities that, considering the rest of the team were hiding, could help him to get in behind the defenders.
Nobody else is like that. He is a very direct player. He can miss a first touch but, considering the balance of the team, it was important to keep him in the side.
Walcott also said on his performance:
You always have to get on with the game when things are not going too well.
I can hold my hands up and say I didn’t have the greatest of first halves.
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But it just shows the character, not just me but of the team. I’m trying to forget about that and focus on what happened in the second half.
After myself giving the young Englishman flak in recent weeks, its great to see him bounce back and regain some much needed confidence with a top-class brace! He must now build on his second half performance and improve his consistency, which has been he main draw-back in recent seasons!