Boo-Boy of the Week: Theo Walcott

Arsenal's Theo Walcott
Walcott... or not to cut

Theo Walcott’s latest poor performance, in Arsenal’s 2-0 FA Cup defeat at Sunderland on Saturday, brought about another wave of criticism for a player who looked to be getting his Gunners career up and running but has tailed off badly of late. Is it just down to Arsene Wenger’s insistence on playing him out wide, or is the England man just not good enough for a future at the Emirates? Join Football Burp in casting a gaze message board-wards as we make Theo Walcott our Boo-Boy of the Week…

Stands accused of…

he just isn’t very good at crossing when there is a player in front of him. He can cut it back ok and get to the byline but his crossing from wide is terrible, plus his ball control generally is pretty poor and he repeated loses the ball game after game without really taking huge risks in terms of attacking his fullback.

– evoh_1, Arsenal Mania

Against deep defending team he cant do anything. Theo is one of the quickest players in world football, take that out and you have a league 1 player. He cant dribble without space, his first touch is poor, he’s weak physically and mentally, and the worst bit which is the reason why i hate him is that he’s not a football fan, he’s not someone who I can see stay over and work on his skills. For all the people blaming everyone but Theo, there’s an interview where he said he doesnt even try moves in training when asked who has most moves in a 5 side, he said from his own mouth its not his game. This tells me he knows he’s quick and relays on that. There has never been any desire to add more to his game from himself. You look at kids like Chamberlain and Miyaichi, yes they are kids, but you can see them try different skills. things they have tried in training. Some people will say its not all about moves. Im sorry, but if you are a wide man for 6 years and you are one of the quickest players in world football. Most of your focus should be how can I create space for myself so I can use my pace. But everyone knows Theo will always push it wide and try to beat you for pace, defenders know this in advance and are fully prepared. My conclusion is he needs to be sold asap

– gooney, Gooners World

I lost patience about 3 years ago. He’s can’t still be learning, he’s been here for ages. As said above, being English is his saving grace. If he wasn’t British, I don’t think he would even be in the EPL. He’s just not a footballer. He’s arrogant and he’s wasteul. Emmanuel Eboue was twice the player. It frustrates me that people still defend the guy. Even Mark Lawrenson has finally seen the light. In comparison to Chamberlain, Lawrenson basically said that Theo was pathetic on the radio the other night. It came a few years too late, but finally. He definitely does not offer more than anyone else in this squad.

– Christopher, Arsenal Land

I’ve lost patience with Theo, his attitude sucks and his form is based on it. We need better options and he should be dropped to the bench (sold quickly if he isn’t interested in signing a new contract) and be made to prove himself with consistent impacts off the bench. He never really earned his starting place imo, was just given it on the basis that Arshavin is too **** to start.

– 1macca1, Arsenal Mania

It really is time for Theo to go. I don’t think he is an atrocious player, he just isn’t good enough for a top 4 or even top 6 team. Especially teams like Arsenal who try to play a possession game and thus need highly technical players who can work in tight spaces. He would do very well at a club who set up deep in their own half and counter attack all game, and with a manager who tells him exactly what he has to do so he doesn’t need to think. In other words Theo would probably thrive under that nasty little gremlin O’Neil

– Cynical Gooner, Gooners World

Walcott is a problem because he’s a starter. . I don’t think he is good enough to be a starter at this level. As an impact sub, he could be very dangerous if a game is stretched and he’s allowed to get in behind and use his pace. In a tactical set up with a decent full back and good defence, he’s so useless, it hurts. You can see him running out of ideas quickly. You see him failing to control the ball. You see him failing to use his body well enough to hold off a challenge. This is something Chamberlain does much better, matter of fact, it is something Wilshere is very good at as well. It has nothing to do with his size (or lack of), he simply doesn’t have proper control of his body. It is difficult to articulate, but it’s there and it’s frustrating to watch. It all boils down to that poor technique thing. He’s mostly unable, as well as obviously unwilling to take on a man 1v1 and beat him. These are things that can be learned, but he hasn’t shown much in the years he’s been here, that you start to wonder if he does truly work on his weaknesses, or are those coaching him not getting him to reach the level he ought to be. It can’t possibly be just sprint drills every day in training, can it?

– garthgooner, Arsenal Land

Utterly useless in almost every game.

– go49oner, Arsenal Mania

He was a highly rated 16 year old who has not progressed whatsoever. That happens in football, it happened with Pennant, Bentley and many others. We paid a lot of money for Theo which was a gamble, a gamble which hasn’t paid off. in 6 year’s he hasn’t developed, that’s just about time to give up imo. I said at the start of the season this was make or break year for him, I think most of us have the answer now.

– friedslice, Gooners World

At least Gervinho gets the ball and runs at defenders, that causes problems especially for slower players. What does Walcott do? Run in a straight line and nothing else.

– ferrarif50hunt, Arsenal Mania

Having seen the nickname ‘Lolcott’ applied, I only wish I could find it funny.

– Football Burp’s Arsenal-supporting flatmate

In his defence…

I’d keep him as an impact player. I bet people weren’t slagging him off after what he did to Barcelona a couple of years ago, although to be honest I can’t be bothered going through Theo’s highlights again. Just because a player isn’t good enough to be a regular starter does NOT mean that he should be sold. It’s putting 2+2 together and making 5. Our problem is not the players we have, it’s the players we don’t have. You can’t always attach the blame to certain players. Tonight was a very good example where we got destroyed by a better team. I’d struggle to point the finger at anyone. They just couldn’t cut it.

– Glovegun, Arsenal Mania

I still think there is the makings of a darn good player there. I just don’t think we’ll ever see it at Arsenal. Well, not all the while we have Wenger at the helm. We know there have been players that AW has brought on to greatness. Thierry and Fab, and a hint of Samir possibly. And a couple of forwards like Adebayor and Anelka showed signs, but didn’t care enough about AW or us to be counted. Jack and the Ox don’t count yet – he might still ruin them. So maybe AW isn’t the great one at developing world class talent that he seems to think. I don’t know Theo, and have never met him, but he always comes across as a good kid that was trying to do what he was told. He wasn’t the arogant, selfish git that was out for number one. And I think that has been his downfall. At Southampton he was shown the pitch, given the ball, and told to get on with it. However, with us he has had to try to fit into our system. But he’s not a winger, and he’s never been taught to be a forward in his own right.

FatSadGooner, Gooners World

All tho I`m not Theo`s biggest fan, i feel the criticism directed towards him is way out of line. I know he can be frustrating but from a young age Theo as been thrown into the limelight. He hasn`t had the comfort to develope and make mistakes without being under the spotlight. Now some people will say he`s had 6 years and to a certain point a agree but where`s the leadership on the pitch to guide him?? The fact we have to start him every game is down to poor management imo.

– DUSTCORE, Arsenal Land

People should realise by now that Theo is very effective against teams that push up constantly and completely useless against those that don’t. There is no in between for him. It’s a question of knowing when to use him. Wenger had an opportunity to play tonight’s game on the counter attack but tried to force the play through ineffective ball players like Ramsey. Theo relies on players who can spot a pass early and deliver a consistently accurate through ball. When he gets it to feet he is completely impotent against teams that defend deep.

– Big Poppa, Arsenal Mania

Sad to say i’ve been slowly coming round to the conclusion TW isn’t gonna make it here. As the OP has said he’s never been given a run as a striker in his own right. The lad has said many times before where he thinks he should be used, he’s obviously gone to AW and told him where he should be used but, nothing has come of it. I fear that if he’s put up front fans will expect instant results, failing to realise it’ll take time for him to develop into that role. The system we play would have to be adjusted to accommodate him, which I just don’t see happening. He doesn’t have the trust of the manager. If I were him I’d probably leave. If I were Wenger I’d probably sell if a decent offer were made.

– gzagee, Gooners World

Playing Walcott out wide is like playing Michael Owen out wide for me. Not that Walcott is in any way as good a striker as Owen – although none of us know that – but would anyone have though Owen was a great striker if he was played on the wing? If you let go of Walcott before giving him a chance, and a proper one, as a striker then it’d be a travesty. It’ll literally be like buying Götze and shipping him off 3 seasons later because he didn’t play well enough as a DM. Walcott has shown he’s got great finishing, at least I think so. Sure, he misses from time to time, but he’s still somewhat young. Playing him out wide is a complete waste of talent and the only reason he’s still doing it is because Wenger is to stubborn to chance ANYTHING regarding formation and tactics. If Walcott is shipped off to a club like Newcastle, I sincerely hope that he scores 20 goals a season if they play him as a striker, just to show the gross mishandling he’s gone through.

– Dokaka, Arsenal Mania

While I agree that Theo has been largley shite this season I dont think that its all his fault. He’s suffered becuase we’ve lost Nasri and Cesc, two players who are able to ping a 40 yard,defence splitting pass, in being the defenders for Theo to bomb onto. Now he has Ramsey and Arteta playing the ball into his feet, a position which he is usless in and just gets ran into a corner. By no means is Theo a great player but when playing with the correct players along-side him then he is ceratinly a good player to have in the squad.

– TheLittleMozart, GoonersWorld

You have to remember he’s still only 22, Christiano Ronaldo didn’t start scoring double figures in a season until he was 23 (he’s 26 now) and people argue that Nani hasn’t really shown any true form untill the last couple of years (he’s 25 now). I’m not saying Walcott will be near the level of those two but I think people have to be careful in how they judge Theo. I think because he has been at the club for 6 years now, we forget he’s still only in his early 20’s. Yes he may not have progressed as quickly as he should have but he still has a lot to learn and a lot of time to learn it in. I think because we’ve seen the likes of Fabregas, Wilshere and Ramsey progress so quickly and at such a young age we automatically expect the same of others. Perhaps Theo needs a bit more time too. He definitely needs more competition though and hopefully it’s something Wenger addresses in the transfer window. Whatever happens though, the next couple of years will be crucial for Walcotts career.

– -Jk-, Arsenal Land

The truth is he hasn’t had enough opportunities for anyone to decide whether he’s a striker, let alone whether he’s lost the instinct! He has always looked a striker FWIW. I fear Wenger has lost five years of honing his skills as a predator, which might be a huge waste of talent, speed and goals. We may never find out. I’ve been saying for ages that he looks a yard slower over 30 metres – I’m certain of that.

– The Jury, Arsenal Mania

He’s in desperate need of a playmaker, this seasons he’s barely got the service he should be getting! Even Songs been assisting him with through balls, i think that on it’s own tells the story. I thought when Arteta signed we would of been fine when it come to service, don’t get me wrong he’s a GOOD player and can control the midfield well but he rarely looks for a through ball, always to feet and that’s what Theo’s had to put up with all season!

– RVP10, Gooners World

In his defence? If I wanted him, I couldn’t catch him.

– Football Burp’s Arsenal-supporting flatmate

So, how does Theo Walcott measure up on the Boo-Boy-O-Meter?

Unpopularity rating…


Derisive nicknames…

Lol-cott, Walc***, Theo-D’oh! (we might have made up at least one of those)

Competition for place…

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looks downright decent, Gervinho is back from the African Cup of Nations to repeatedly fire straight at the ‘keeper, Andrey Arshavin is ready and waiting to underwhelm at a moment’s notice, Tomas Rosicky could reassert his ‘Little Mozart’ billing by playing like he’s been dead for a couple of hundred years, Mikel Arteta could be switched out wide but at the expense of central midfield discipline, Ryo Miyaichi could be brought safely back from Bolton Wanderers by hired goons if an early loan recall isn’t an option.

Football Burp says…

Players tend to blossom at different stages of their careers, but Walcott has been in and around the first team for long enough now that the lack of perceptible improvement to his game is cause for alarm. Robin van Persie’s insistence that his young team mate will eventually score at least 20 a season feels, for now at least, like shallow public backing. Sell to the highest bidder and replace with someone rubbish from the French league.

Theo Walcott – yay or nay? Have your say in the comments section below…