Theo Walcott will start for England as they face Malta in Gareth Southgate’s first match in charge as interim manager.

Walcott has been a different player this season, with the penny finally dropping that he needed to pull his finger out and apply himself (like he does when a contract is due).

The results have been remarkable.

Three goals and two assists in seven Premier League games, as well as a brace in just one Champions League appearance, means that Theo is well on his way to surpassing his total from last season by Christmas.

Netting in three of his last four outings for Arsenal, Walcott told reporters before the game, “I don’t want this time to stop.

“I have been working hard and I want to be better than the opposition.

“It is a completely new bunch of players but we want to put the disappointment of the Euros right – there is no reason why we cannot do better.

“When we have the freedom to express ourselves, that bodes well for the future.”

It’s likely that the Ox will start on the bench but the question really should be asked – what is he even doing there in the first place?

While the Ox is bursting with potential, he has cut a frustrating figure at Arsenal and it’s hard to think that there is not one other person in better form who perhaps deserves that place a little more.

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