With news at a premium today I thought I’d go back over one of the topic from yesterday that I merely brushed over; the role that Theo Walcott will play for Arsenal this season.
But before I move on to the recent comments made Arsene Wenger regarding Walcott, I want to present you with a statement I made about the young Englishman before the start of last season:
“Van Persie recently suggested that this will be a big year for Walcott but I think he is still a little bit too young to have the impact that everyone expects and I think it will be another season of transition for him.”
And – surprise, surprise – that is exactly what it turned out to be.
This year, however, I think Walcott is ready to have the sort of season that many predicted him to have last season. That doesn’t mean buckets of goals or man-of-the-match performances every time he plays – it simply means becoming a more consistent threat to opposing defenders.
I definitely think he has it in him and it’s interesting to see the manager does too. Indeed, Wenger was quoted after the Barnet game as saying about Walcott:
“Theo made a step forward last season and you expect him to improve again. The target last year was for him to play 15 to 20 games and show quality. The target this year is to become a regular player. I expect a lot from him, this season.”
I have to say I’m glad to see the manager make such a public admission of his expectations for Walcott – it should both challenge and motivate the player. What is exciting for Arsenal supporters is the fact that Wenger would not go out on a limb and make this sort of statement without thinking things through very, very thoroughly. The Frenchman is a careful nurturer of his young players and does not like to put pressure on players he does not feel are ready, so these comments suggest that he absolutely believes Walcott can make the step up this season.
The manager also went on to speak about the position that Walcott might play for next season, suggesting that he is currently more at home out wide then up front. Given that Arsenal have an abundance of striking options and only three players who I would consider capable of playing on the wing – Tomas Rosicky, Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Eboue – I see Walcott challenging the latter for a starting spot on the right. Indeed, I believe that by the end of this season Theo Walcott will be the first-choice right winger for Arsenal.
He has the raw ability and simply needs to build his experience to add more consistency to his game. I think he can and will do it and I’m certainly looking forward to watching the young Englishman play.
As always, I’d love to hear what you think.
PS. Here’s a little bonus link to an article in The Guardian which illustrates what a great guy Theo appears to be. Cheers to Naeem for emailing me the link.
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