Theo Walcott has pleaded with Arsene Wenger to start him in more games this season, as the 21-year-old forward fears he is turning into an impact super-sub for the club.
The Arsenal winger had been a regular starter in the early stages of the season and was in fine form, but unfortunately due to an ankle injury sustained in September he has found himself amongst the substitutes.
Walcott came off the bench against Partizan Belgrade on Wednesday, and within six minutes made a huge impact on the game by scoring Arsenal’s second. Without a doubt, his introduction changed the game and as a result, the Gunners booked their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Remarkably, the game on Wednesday marked Theo Walcott’s 150th appearance for the North London outfit after joining from lower league side Southampton five years ago. Of course the figure should have been a lot higher after five years with Arsenal, but a plague of injuries have not done the winger any favours.
Out of his 150 appearances for Arsenal, Walcott has started just 68 of them (12 being in the Carling Cup). It now appears that the Englishman is ready to cement a place in the starting IX, as it seems he has spent enough time on the bench. He told Sky Sports today:
‘As a substitute you want to come off the bench and make an impact, but I want to play now. I want to be starting games, being 21. It is always frustrating being on the bench. It comes to the point when you do not want to dwell on it all the time.’
The winger is hopeful of starting against Manchester United this following Monday after his cameo appearance at the Emirates on Wednesday, and believes Wenger will have a tough time selecting his starting IX because of his performance:
‘I wanted to show the boss what I could do and he probably has a headache now for Monday’s game against Manchester United. So fingers crossed, I look forward to it.’
Walcott has managed to score four goals in his three Premier League starts so far this season, whilst in five substitute appearances, he has failed to find the back of the net. Statistics show that in terms of goal-scoring for Arsenal, Walcott produces his best work when starting as appose to coming off the bench.
For me, Walcott still has a lot of improving to do in terms of controlling and using his abilities to full effect. He done brilliantly at the start of the season and unfortunately yet another injury halted his progress as a player. The problem for Walcott now is trying to prove to Wenger and the fans that he actually deserves a place in the starting IX. However, whilst Walcott was out, the team have managed to top the table and look to be in great form, so why change a winning team right? The winger himself expressed his concerns over the matter:
‘This season I have come back and the team has been playing well and winning, so it is difficult to get back in as there is no reason to change it.’
Personally, I can’t see the Englishman as a starter for Arsenal, not yet anyway. I believe there are better options available at the club, but this is not to say Walcott hasn’t got a chance of getting back in the team, because the fact is he always does.
The forward is still very young and has a lot of developing still to do, but for now he needs to remain patient and take his chances when given them like he did in the Champions League this week.
In my opinion, Walcott is more effective when coming on as a sub, because his pace can cause havoc to tiring defenders. Although he may not score goals this way, he certainly takes advantage of the oppositions defence. However, is Walcott’s fear of turning into a super-sub a little premature? Well if he continues to come off from the bench and make immediate impacts like he did against Partizan, then maybe, but it’s too early to call. It’s great to see the player’s desire for wanting to start more games for the club, but Walcott needs to trust in Wenger a little bit more, as the Frenchman knows how to bring out the best in his players.