Hi all. Today’s guest post comes from @EducatedGooner. Read, share and enjoy,
Theo Walcott is throwing his toys out of the pram. He has grown tired of his role as a winger and, some would say selfishly, wants to follow the footsteps of Thierry Henry and mature into the more glorified and goal-getting role of centre forward. As much as he wishes he was, Theo Walcott is not Thierry Henry. He does not reside from the continent, have a suave accent that makes girls weak at the knees or even possess, what I would call, a natural striker’s instinct. However, there are a few reasons why I think Theo should be given a chance.
Firstly, Theo has time on his side. At the tender age of 23 he is still very capable of adapting to a new position. When Thierry Henry arrived at Arsenal he was 22 years old and, more importantly, he was a wide player. So maybe Theo does have something in common with our beloved TiTi and maybe, just maybe, he is capable of pulling off the transition that his predecessor at number 14 did so very well. There is only one way to find out. Added to his youth, in recent years, Theo has also improved his finishing ability. He has become more composed and confident in front of goal, taking chances (e.g. His two goals vs Tottenham last year) that his younger self would have almost definitely squandered. Furthermore, I’m sure that as he plays up-front more and more he will pick up tricks of the trade, if not, he probably has Thierry on speed-dial.
My next reason may be viewed as obvious, but I still feel it is crucial. If you hadn’t noticed already, Theo Walcott can run pretty bloody fast. Whatever he lacks in physical presence, he more than makes up for in sheer, blistering pace. If you combine his speed with good timing (of runs), you find yourself left with one hell of an attacking weapon. The game of football is changing, which includes the required attributes of a striker (if there is one!). A Quicker, slicker and more precise passing game has led to creative midfielders always being on the look-out for a striker to ‘slip through’ gaps in the opposition defence. Thats where Theo comes in. With some tweaking, I believe Theo Walcott can be shaped into the perfect player for making those runs in behind centre-backs.
The overriding reason why I think Theo should be given a chance up-front, is not a technical one. It is because he seems to have a compelling desire to succeed at Arsenal and nowhere else, which is something of a rarity amongst our ‘big players’ of recent times. This hunger to achieve great things was put into words by the man himself recently, he said:
I’ve never said I wanted to go, I’ve always wanted to stay. I want to be an Arsenal legend.
Now I know ‘loyalty’ is something of a myth these days, as we Arsenal fans know only too well, but surely when a footballer says he wants to be a legend at his club they must be looking at the long-term. “Ah!” I hear you say, “surely if Theo loves the club so much, he would have signed a new contract by now!”. This argument is certainly valid and I can’t deny that I am somewhat baffled by the fact that a deal hasn’t been thrashed out, seeing as Theo appears to want to stay. Having said that, I’m sure there are reasons weighty enough that more time is required by both sides to negotiate and haggle with one-another. Speculation has many believing that Theo is another ‘money-grabber’ demanding wages of £100,000 and threatening to leave other-wise. I can’t confirm whether this is true or not, but contracts are business deals and at the end of the day both parties want what is best for themselves. However, in light of his recent statements it does not seem his primary concern is money. As a fan, I find that refreshing to hear.
So ultimately, beyond the facts that he is still young, that he can still learn and that he is rather fast, it is Theo Walcott’s apparent love for Arsenal and his dream of becoming a legend that makes me want to give him a chance. His days as a ‘young gunner’ are long gone, so maybe its worth letting him mature into a role he feels he will be most comfortable in for the foreseeable future. Footballers never stop learning – why does Theo have to?