Theo Walcott may have played his final Everton game already, having hinted at a move into coaching during his spell on loan with boyhood club Southampton.
The attacker returned to St. Mary’s on Deadline Day after the Saints struck a deal with Everton that sees the Goodison Park natives continue to pay £45,000 of the 31-year-old’s £100,000-per-week contract.
His terms are set to expire at the end of the season, though, and it is unlikely that a new deal is tabled having fallen down the pecking order under Carlo Ancelotti, with just 950 minutes of action handed to the former Arsenal star since the Italian’s appointment.
Walcott is yet to fully establish himself in the first-team fold at Southampton following his return to the south coast, with Ralph Hasenhuttl starting the attacker against Chelsea and seeing him assist in the 3-3 draw only to then be without the ex-England ace in victory over Everton.
But Walcott has revealed that he has been working closely with Hasenhuttl off the pitch since his homecoming, and could continue working with the Saints boss beyond his one-season loan.
“The manager has pulled me to one side a few times and put me in a room to go through a lot of tactics, which is nice to see, just to get my coaching head on, because that’s something in the future I might want to look at,” Walcott told the Saints’ website.
“It’s very interesting. I’m really enjoying my short time working with the manager at the moment and hopefully it can be a long-term thing.”
Along with working with Hasenhuttl, Walcott has been working with Southampton’s young talents and, given his comments, could look to move into a coaching position at the end of the season.
“I want to help the academy graduates coming through now,” Walcott added. “I’m sure they’ve got a lot of questions to ask – quite a few of them have already been asking me things.
“A lot of them have been saying, ‘I watched you at Arsenal and now I’m playing with you’, so that’s a nice touch. I feel like everyone’s a really hard worker.”
Should Walcott not be offered a new contract for next season and leaves Everton, his record at Goodison Park will not be as fruitful as he would have liked when signed for more than £20million by Sam Allardyce in 2018, having scored just 11 times and offered nine assists in 85 games.
He is clearly now looking at the bigger picture, though, and the forward maestro would be a superb addition for Southampton in a player-coach type role given his 47-caps for England, experience competing in the Champions League and 348 career Premier League appearances.
Walcott also has a superb footballing brain, and was hailed by Arsene Wenger during their time at the Emirates Stadium with the former Arsenal boss once noting via Sky Sports: “He has all the ingredients to be a great striker, because of the quality of his runs. He is an intelligent player, a good finisher.”