Theo Walcott is an excellent player who does not realise it.
Walcott is quite simply the Marmite Man of the Premier League! 50% of football fans think he has quality attributes, whilst 50% see him as nothing more than a player who has a decent turn of pace.
If you’re an Arsenal fan, you may agree when I say that Theo Walcott strikes me as an incredibly talented player lacking in self-belief. As you will also read later in the article, Walcott compares very similarly to Gareth Bale this season, but with one fundamental difference…
I’d like to initially highlight what I think Walcott does well; the clear strengths of his game. Walcott has lightning pace, which I feel he relies on too much at times. I have no doubt that Walcott’s pace both with and without the ball is a superb attribute to have in what is an increasingly fast paced game. It is difficult to name any players who are quicker than Walcott in the Premier League. He shows maturity on the pitch, perhaps something that has been instilled since his move to Arsenal in 2006. Whilst I do not mind admitting I dislike Arsene Wenger in many ways, his ability to spot and nurture potential in young football players is sensational. Walcott is good in possession of the ball; showing he can confidently pass the ball and maintain possession in keeping with Arsenal’s style of play.
There are a few key aspects to Theo Walcott’s game which if improved would put him right up with the best wide players in the Premier League. Firstly, Walcott’s final pass lets him down; when you consider the number of excellent positions he can get himself into. Walcott is equally happy coming deeper to collect the ball and beat a player, or playing on the shoulder and bursting into space in the channels. What often follows such scenarios is a poorly placed final pass that results in the goal scoring opportunity being lost. I do believe that this is something Walcott is improving. Two assists in the 3-0 victory over West Ham at the weekend shows that he can be composed in the final third when it counts.
Similar to my previous point, Walcott at times seems to lack composure and belief in front of goal. When you consider his pace and ability to craft scoring opportunities, 15 goals in 100 games is not an outstanding record for a player like Walcott. You get the feeling that Walcott is always looking to play somebody else in, instead of adding a ‘selfish’ side to his game; one I feel would drastically improve his success in front of goal.