This morning I’ve awoken to many a pun, Wallcott Shock, Wall-Boycot, Wallycot, etc etc, but all in all, the matter of factness is that Theo Walcott is not going to be playing football this summer and it’s a shame that just a young talent has ended up being discarded by a manager who seemed so likely to take Theo that other players like SWP and Lennon were 2nd and 3rd choice behind the right winger and scared for their places – that is, until, Theo played those two friendlies…
The game against Mexico was interesting and his pace and trickery was in full display… but his end product? Well, there was no end product. Rooney’s anger at Theo for the few bad crosses he gave him spoke volumes. And if your star striker and best player gets frustrated with his supply, then you got to re-consider. And that’s why Capello had the likes of SWP, Johnson, Milner, Cole and Lennon in his squad. When Lennon came on and make that marauding run, I thought to myself, damn, that’s been more effective than Theo has been all day with his final ball.
But I believe the writing was on the wall during the Japan game when Theo was very poor – but then again – so was everyone. SWP had his one and only chance to shine – and he had to take it. He played well against tired legs and really forced the issue home.
If I were Capello, would I have taken Walcott. Definitely. Would I have started him? No, definitely not. Walcott best attribute to come on against a team with tired legs, a team who are tiring and the injection of pace kills them. We’ve seen Theo play for us as a substitute and as a starter this season and I have to say, as a sub, he’s been brilliant, turning games, baffling defenders… as a starter, he’s been woeful. The difference is huge. As an impact sub, I have to say, he is one of the best around. Despite his failings, he’s shown he has an eye for goal as well and the ability to finish, cite the Croatia game.
Why didn’t Capello choose Walcott? I think it’s down to the fact that he didn’t think he could be effective from the start and that says more for his indecision in who will start for England than anything else. How has this happened? Well, after a promising season last year, his partaking in the Under 21’s tournament basically burnt him out. He went on to get injured in November and miss pretty much most of the season. He’s not recovered yet, that’s for sure.
Martin Keown spoke about Theo’s exclusion and had this to say:
“He runs at a frightening pace, he is rapid, but when he gets into those positions he is not able to think quickly enough, does he pull it back, does he shoot or does he go on his own? His decision making is the problem, he hasn’t been able to do that. Under Capello it seemed as if he has been getting it right in the main, under Wenger, no, there has been a problem, whether or not that is the coaches’ fault, it has to be the players, he has just not played enough games. He has become a bit of a one-trick pony in terms of going for the line. People just double up on him. When he has got time and space then he finds it a problem and he has got to sort that out with his game.”
Personally, I think that criticism is harsh, when a player is good, you normally get teams doubling up on them. As a result, it frees up a different player and tires out the opposition.
But it’s a good thing for Arsenal in one way – the player will finally get a chance to rest up. Of course, he won’t get the International experience that we all hoped would better the player, but for Theo – it’s all about getting your head down and working hard.
It’s a bit strange to think, but Cesc and Song (and Diaby, lol) apart, the rest of our midfield aren’t going to be there – in fact, Samir Nasri, Thomas Rosicky, Andrei Arshavin, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Denilson are all going to be absent from the world’s premier competition – and what exactly does that say about our midfield players? Okay, yes, Wales, Russia and the Czech Republic aren’t there, but my point is that those lot are our first choice midfield. And they will all be very much rested and should, I hope, should have some fire in their belly’s next season!
Many people are saying that this is the formation / players that will be used by Capello for opening game:
Johnson – Terry – Ferdinand – Cole
Milner – Gerrard – Lampard – Cole
Rooney – Heskey
What would your XI be?