I'm sure that you have read many a post on how Theo Walcott has not progressed in the past four years. I'm sure you thought that too, I did think that. I thought Theo wasn't all that good, he could just run fast couldn't he?
It seemed like he played the game on sunday to shut the world up. Theo did everything people say he couldn't do. And he did it well.
|Proving people wrong|
Theo started the game badly, so did Arsenal, he seemed to be all over the place initially. As the game picked up, he did too. Theo was booed in the first half, Arsenal fans wanted him replaced at the break. Here is what I think, Theo did not do badly in the first half. Yes, statistics do not support what I'm saying. But Theo's movement was so brilliant that it was creating all the time in the world for Bacary Sagna to whip in crosses. And Bac was crossing like a legend. If you thought Bacary Sagna had a good half, Theo deserves some of the credit. But most people did not see this. It must have been a major hit for his confidence when he went in during half time. Do you know one person who did recognize his silent contribution? Arsene Wenger. Had Wenger subbed him during the break it would have shattered his confidence. But Wenger stuck with him.
Now before we go on to what he did in the second half, let's recall an incident during the match. Theo received the ball, with space in front of him, nobody between him and the goal. But rather than running at the goal, he passed the ball to Robin, who was being marked by three Spurs players. Why did he do that? The answer is, he sometimes makes the wrong decisions. Why? Because the fans have criticized him so much, he has lost confidence, this was a result of lack of confidence because of impatient fans, me included. This did not show he does not have a 'footballing brain', it showed that what the fans say gets to him sometimes. He is a quality player. But he's young, and he needs the fans behind his back to support him.
Moving on to the second half. Theo played like a legend.
He sprinted more than three quarters of the pitch to score Arsenal's fourth goal on Sunday. Check the pitch, I'm pretty sure he left a scorch mark on it. He showed startling pace, the desire to get there and a finish Thierry Henry would stand up and applaud. Does this sound like a player with no 'footballing brain'? No. For his second goal, he showed brilliant control and a calm mind in front of goal to put the ball in the net. Sounds like a perfectly good player to me. Maybe the fans need to give him a little space. He proved the world wrong in the second half, attracting praise from Redknapp himself.
Theo Walcott is a good player, I made a mistake in judging him badly. It took him just 45 minutes to show me I'm wrong, give him time and space and he will show us why Arsene Wenger and Robin Van Persie rate him so highly. That ought to be enough for the fans. When he gets the ball, let's roar in support, and when he loses the ball, let's believe he's going to get it back and prove his skill.
After Sunday's game, I'm going to think twice before I criticize Theo again, and I hope you will too.
Keep the faith. There's always more to things than what we see initially.