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Theo Walcott – Time To Step Up To The Challenge

Theo Walcott has had his fair share of criticism throughout his time at Arsenal. The Englishman’s’ inconsistent performances and a “lack of a footballing brain” have made pundits and fans question his ability to become a quality player. However, last season Walcott started to prove his doubters wrong. He showed glimpses of what he is capable of. Now with 12 months left on his contract, Arsenal fans will be hoping that he shows loyalty to the club and perhaps fills in the slot left by Robin van Persie’s recent departure.

Theo Walcott joined Arsenal from Southampton in January 2006. A young, fresh, raw talented 16 year-old had already impressed at St.Mary’s and he was being tipped for big things. He arrived at Highbury knowing that he wouldn’t be a first team player immediately, but he was certainly in the right place. Arséne Wenger had developed players such as Thierry Henry, Robert Píres and Patrick Vieira, and was expected to add another name to that list in Theo.

After a slow, but an expected start to life at Arsenal, Theo Walcott claimed a first-team place in the 2010-2011 season. The highlight of his season was an hat-trick against Blackpool. However, it is only last season where Theo arguably turned into a key player for the club. His brilliant displays and great bond with Robin van Persie delighted Arsenal fans. Although his first-half performance in the 5-2 win over Tottenham was less than impressive. Walcott was booed by sections of the Arsenal crowd. The second half was totally different. Walcott looked lively and interested which resulted in him scoring two goals.

“The crowd were starting to get on his back and you wonder if you’re doing him a favour if you leave him on,” – Arséne Wenger on Theo Walcott after 5-2 win over Tottenham

That pretty much summed up Walcott’s’ season. It was mixed – at times he was brilliant, and sometimes luck went against him. But I don’t think you can doubt that he has the potential to be a brilliant player.

Theo Walcott’s’ contract situation has become an issue over recent weeks. Arsenal’s decision to sell Robin van Persie to Manchester United will of course be a factor in Theo Walcott’s decision to sign. It wasn’t a secret that Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie had a great partnership on and off the pitch last season. However, this might work in Theo’s favour. He has always said that his preferred position is striker and with Van Persie’s recent departure, it might just give Walcott that chance of proving himself as a striker for Arsenal Football Club. It could be what motivates him further to stay and sign at Arsenal with the extra responsibility.

Firstly, Walcott will have to commit his future to the club. He won’t have it better anywhere else as he has the best mentor possible. He has grown and improved over the years but there is still much work to be done. His crossing ability needs to be worked on and he does still need to work on his shooting. When presented with time on the ball in a one on one situation Walcott has at times spurned very good opportunities to score. However, now Van Persie has left you would expect him to step up to the plate and become an even more important figure at Arsenal. This season he must shine and prove to his critics that he is good enough and can play at highest level consistently. He is still developing his game but now he really has push on and put in important performances for Arsenal FC week in week out.

Arsenal will no longer have Van Persie to rely on and the team as a whole must deliver the goods!

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