The constant moaning about Theo Walcott, the chances that he has missed and the injuries he has sustained, has been a regular feature of English Football. He was supposed to be one of Arsenal’s as well as England’s brightest talents, which, as it turned out, hasn’t happened to date even though there have been countless flashes of what many believed he could do week in and week out.
It’s been more than an agonising decennium since Arsene Wenger signed Theo from the talent machine Southampton, a time during which the 27-year old has made 350+ appearances for the Gunners, yet he hasn’t been able to nail down a spot in Wenger’s starting XI, a fact that serves as a damning indictment of his inconsistency over the years. It would, therefore, be not wrong to brand him as the Premier League’s most frustrating ever player.
This season, however, has been different in all respects for the England International. He has been creating goals, scoring them and more importantly, he has grown into an industrious commodity, a quality that we have hardly associated with a player known for disappearing in games against tough opposition. His work rate has been exceptional so far, tracking back when required and contributing to the team play as much as he never has.
Indeed, it’s a different Theo Walcott that we are seeing these days as Arsene Wenger did predict at a time when most of the Arsenal fans wanted him out of the club for being completely useless. Maybe, all that flak has worked in favour of the Arsenal forward, who has used his critics’ words in the right way and has made them appear absolutely erroneous with his five goals and two assists across all competitions.
All that’s left to be asked now if whether or not can Arsenal’s infamous failure prove his doubters wrong once and for all by leading the Gunners to a Premier League title by showing the same intensity, desire and level more often than he has all this time. It’s not too much to ask of a player who is nearing a century of league goals and is his squad’s most experienced candidate, is it? The potential is there, the hunger’s as high as ever and at last, he does have the fans’ belief behind him. Over to you, Theo - it might be your last chance, or perhaps your best.