Theo Walcott appears to have accepted that he’s not a striker and wants a chance to regain his place on the right wing for Arsenal.
At a time when the Gunners are crying out for a centre-forward, the England man says he wants to return to the position he’s played in most of his career, despite speaking time and time again in the past about how viewed himself as a front man.
Walcott was given a chance there last season by Arsene Wenger, but despite a couple of good displays was unconvincing overall. But he hasn’t been considered a genuine starter on the right hand side for well over a season and a half, after the Arsenal manager lost patience with his lack of defensive effort there.
Now he seems to have thrown all his eggs into that basket, and at 27 years of age it’s a confused message from a player who doesn’t seem to quite know what he wants.
“I have told the manager that I want to be known for playing on the right again,” he said.
“I can play up front. I want to know where I want to play. The manager has said I can play up front. It depends on what game it is.
“I want to make my position on the right – that’s where I know where I am now.”
And never one to doubt his own ability, Walcott said he could still contribute even if new faces arrive, saying, “I have been here 10 years. There is always competition for places. It doesn’t matter what club you are at.
“I always believe that I can get back to where I want to be. I’m sure if I keep working hard then I will get there.”
It’s the fact he keeps changing his mind about where he wants to be that causes such doubt though. It was widely reported that part of his recent contractual negotiations was an assurance from Wenger that he’d be given a chance as a striker.
What the manager has planned for him remains to be seen too, but at this point you’d wonder if a clean start for both parties might not be the best thing for all concerned.
Walcott talking about being a striker.
November 2010: “For me personally, I’m a striker. Hopefully in the next couple of years you’ll see me up front, I’m looking forward to that.”
September 2012: “It is a case of having trust in me up front. I was signed as a striker and it is about time, I want to play up front. I have learnt my game on the wing.”
September 2015: “I will be judged on the number of goals I score. You can play the best game in the world but if you don’t score it doesn’t mean anything. But I’m very confident I can do a job up front.”