Sol Campbell has come to the defence of Theo Walcott, who has faced the ire of Arsenal fans this week.
The forward has largely been absent from any meaningful contribution to the game recently, but Campbell feels the criticism is unfair.
“I don’t think it’s fair,” Campbell told the Evening Standard.
“He’s a great lad who has played for England and done very well. He doesn’t deserve all that. He (Wenger) needs to set the team up and explain to Theo where he wants him on the pitch.
“What is his best position? As a centre-forward or out wide coming in?
“That conversation needs to happen between the manager and player and it needs to be a frank and honest conversation.
“He needs to get into his head and play the game for him and show him the light. Be a real mentor.”
It’s hard to think that Wenger and Walcott haven’t discussed this ad nauseam, but Campbell would surely know better than us.
For what it’s worth, it’s not so much Theo’s position that is the main bugbear with many fans, it’s his lack of application.
In the Premier League alone he has played 279 passes to Alexis’ 928. 15 key passes to his 36, created 17 chances to the Chilean’s 38.
He’s won seven tackles all season compared to Sanchez’s 22 or even Mesut ‘doesn’t do the dirty work’ Ozil’s 23. Even Giroud has won 17 and Joel Campbell 20.
If you think that’s just because he’s rubbish at tackling, you’d be right, but it’s also because he hardly tackles at all. He’s only lost 12 (giving him a total of 19 tackles all season in the league). Ozil? 43. Sanchez? 31. Giroud? 37. Campbell? 35.
Those guys are rubbish at tackling too, but at least they’re trying.
Walcott has only had 10 more shots than Ozil, who is renowned for not shooting. That’s 34 fewer than Alexis, and 39 fewer than Giroud.
22 successful take ons v 37 (Ozil), 61 (Sanchez), 15 (Campbell).
5 aerial duels won when Giroud has 75, Sanchez 17, Welbeck three in just three games. Even Joel Campbell has more with six in two-thirds of the minutes).
The list goes on.
Quite what Arsenal do with Walcott is beyond me.
He’s been at the club 10 years now and is nowhere near the player he promised to be.
In his head, he’s a world class player. In reality, he’s an impact sub or occasional big-game player.
Is that worth over £100,000 a week?