What has happened to this once-promising Arsenal man?

Walcott is beginning to be an enigma at Arsenal.

The attacker has so much skill and so much pace, but this season he has shown a complete downturn in fortunes.

Walcott has been slated recently by Arsenal supporters and it’s easy to see why. His first touch is sub-standard, he struggles to beat opposing players, his ability is so one-dimensional, his composure in front of goal lacklustre, he seems to lack confidence and finally, some say that he is not the most intelligent footballer.

Walcott’s situation is that he earns an astronomical £140,000 a week, which is similar to that of Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez, which makes it all the more ludicrous that he has been at Arsenal for 10 years and his best position is still unknown.

Walcott is truly facing a fight for both his Arsenal and his England place ahead of EURO 2016. Maybe it’s time for a move to revitalise what was once a promising career.

It all adds up to just three starts in 13 games for Arsenal’s No 14. His underwhelming recent cameos have done little to suggest he warrants more regular playing time, and a dismal display at Old Trafford last month yielded just 17 touches and six successful passes in 63 minutes on the pitch.

Fitness problems and inconsistent form have become themes of Walcott’s career, and since returning from a calf injury in December he has been well below his best. His goals against Manchester City and Leicester were valuable contributions, but an overall tally of just eight in 36 appearances this season speaks volumes of his struggles.

It also raises questions of his status within the England squad. Some observers considered him fortunate to be called up by Roy Hodgson for the upcoming friendlies against Germany and the Netherlands given his poor club form, and it is currently difficult to see where he would fit into the starting XI this summer.

If you consider that Hodgson starts with a front three, the question is then who he wants to lead the forward line. In truth, there are four or five better options open to the England boss at this time, while the wide spots also look to be filled and so for Walcott, the international door is slowing creaking shut. So where does that leave Walcott?

Speaking on SunSport’s podcast, Ian Wright, a former Gunners ace, said: “It’s unfortunate Theo’s getting the stick he’s getting because I believe he’s been let down by the club in respect of his progression.

“He’s someone they could really have brought on. Ten years on he looks the same. He could really have gone on and learned that trade and done a lot better.”

Wright also thinks the root cause of Walcott’s problem lies in the fact that he was so severely fast-tracked in the early stages of his career.

“It’s all been very natural for him. Before you know what’s happening he’s at Southampton, before he knows what’s happening he’s in the first team and before you know else is happening he’s gone to Arsenal,.

“He’s gone with England to the World Cup and everything has just gone BANG…fast track. You don’t see the time in his progression where he’s going to actually stop, learn a position.”

Roy Hodgson himself admits it will be tough for the former Southampton youngster to make the plane for France unless he returns to the first-team:

“I think a lot of players have got work to do and it’s going to be harder for players who don’t get a chance to show what they can do because they don’t make their club team.

“One can’t deny that it will be even harder for them. For Theo, he like quite a lot of other players, will have to try hard to get back in the Arsenal team otherwise I will not be seeing enough of him.

“But we know Theo Walcott, we know what he can do and it will be a balance.”

All England fans will hope that Walcott gets back to his best, because on his day, he is an exciting player and the game in general needs as many of these players as it can get.

Whether that will be at Arsenal next season and whether he can mentally switch on again – only time will tell.

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