Will Arsenal star ever win over his critics?

It’s true that Arsenal ’s dynamic winger Theo Walcott tends to blow rather hot and cold. During the Gunner’s 3-0 victory over Bolton, Theo had one of his ‘hot’ days. He looked more effective, breezed past players and flashed in effective crosses. One agonising miss aside, Walcott had a good game and should he continue along these lines over the coming weeks, then perhaps the doubters will have to start re-considering their position.

There’s no doubt that Theo has improved over the last couple of seasons. The stats say so and he’s grown in importance at the club immensely. His improved standing at the club in combination with his frustrating knack for have ineffective games has caused fans a great deal of frustration.

But to label Theo a completely ineffectual player is just way off the mark. He made it into double figures last season, playing out on the wings, and racked up an impressive number of assists. Given that he did so whilst playing in a position he didn’t favour and having spent plenty of time out on the sidelines should make it clear just what a quality player Walcott is. But still some question why he’s part of this Arsenal team.

Those who don’t like Walcott will talk endlessly about his lack of a ‘footballing brain’, but this argument seems unfair to me. Sure he makes the occasional mistake, passing when he should shoot and vice versa, but every footballer is guilty of this. Nobody is perfect. It strikes me that Theo has this reputation for making bad decisions on the football pitch, and this is something that commentators and pundits play on, whether or not it’s merited during a game.

As such he doesn’t get enough credit for the things that he does right and it’s clear that he does a lot right, statistically speaking.

People talk about Theo not being a ‘natural’ footballer, but it strikes me that they’ve conveniently forgotten that he hasn’t been playing in his natural position. Walcott should be being employed down the centre upfront, where he can use his pace and finishing ability to real effect.

It may well be that fans won’t give Theo the plaudits he deserves until he’s given a chance to show what he can do in his favoured position. Until then shouldn’t we give him some credit for playing out of position and doing a fairly good job of it?

Article courtesy of Harry Cloke from This is Futbol
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