Welcome back to the StrongAsTheOx blog! It’s been too long, or depending on your viewpoint, not long enough. I’ve been a bit busy recently, and will continue to be busy for the rest of the season, but I’ll try to post more frequently.
Anyway, enough about me. Time to talk about the subject of today’s post: Theo Walcott, and his potential to become an Arsenal legend. First though, let’s talk about his career before his excellent current season.
We bought the rapid 23 year old from Southampton in January 2006 for 12 million pounds. He was only 16 years old. Due to his age and the price we payed for his services he was surrounded by pressure and hype. He failed to make an appearance that season, but still managed to get a place on England’s 2006 World Cup squad. Again though, he failed to make an appearance and this piled more pressure on the youngster as people began to suspect he wasn’t worth the hype.
As his career went on more and more people began to question him as he struggled to find consistency. He became an enigma. For every brace against Birmingham or mazy run against Liverpool there were many games where he just didn’t show up.
This led to his detractors being a lot more vocal and numerous than his supporters. Pundits with no football brain of their own said he didn’t have one. In fairness, the stats largely backed their beliefs. Before the 10/11 season he had only scored 9 times and had provided 21 assists in 86 appearances.
Things started to turn around for Theo after that, but he could never quite shake the inconsistency tag off. The North London Derby of February 2012 was a turning point for him and his relationship with the fans.
The first half typified his earlier career. He was Gervinho-esque, losing the ball and making poor decisions. The crowd were completely on his back. His second half performance set the tone for the rest of his career so far though. He was a completely different player. He was strong, making intelligent runs, and his finishing was deadly.
Since then he is almost unrecognisable from the player he was before. He has been delivering the qualities we saw on rare occasions in a lot of games now. He has already scored 11 goals in the league this season, and has provided 10 assists, leading to people comparing him to Henry. How times change.
These stats are in stark comparison to earlier seasons, and if he continues improving in the manner he is, he can become an Arsenal legend. He has already beaten his personal best goal tally for the season, and is only 3 assists away from beating his 13 assists from last season. But we barely need stats to tell us how much Theo has improved. It’s obvious to anyone with a football brain…
Despite his much improved performances though, he still is unappreciated by a lot of fans. Why this is, I have no clue. The Chelsea away game was a perfect example. Theo was better than Giroud in that game, and scored a goal, but Giroud got all the plaudits. We need to start appreciating Theo more if we expect him to stay loyal.
Another thing that Theo doesn’t get enough credit for is sticking with us. Many of the players who left us could have become legends due to their prodigious talent, but because of greed or general cunt-ishness decided to leave. Theo didn’t. He chose to stay and fight when he didn’t have to, and when it certainly would’ve been easier to go elsewhere. For this he deserves our admiration.
Another thing that is vital is Theo’s importance to the newly formed British core at the club. We focus on the brilliance of Jack so much that we often forget that Theo is the most experienced of the British lads and has a lot of advice to offer them. Jack will end up as captain one day, but the inspiration Theo offers now will be vital to the development of Jack, Kieran, Carl, Aaron and Alex.
So that’s why I think Theo can and will become a legend here. He is crucial to this team now, and will be one of the key men in our push for the top 4.
Enough with the comparisons to Henry too. He was never Thierry. He isn’t Thierry. He will never be Thierry. He is Theo Walcott, and he will be an Arsenal legend.
As always, thank you for reading. If you enjoyed, please leave a comment, or tweet me @StrongAsTheOx. If you could share this wherever you could it would be appreciated. ‘Til next time