Arsene Wenger has revealed that he now regrets the decision to allow Theo Walcott to join up with England earlier in the season.
Returning to the Arsenal side after rupturing the cruciate in his knee, the winger featured as a late substitute for Arsenal in two games before joining up with England for the games against Slovenia and Scotland in November with the agreement that he would not actually play in the matches.
That provision was honoured but it didn’t stop Walcott picking up a groin injury as he trained with the England team.
Looking back, [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”null”]Wenger believes he made the wrong decision.[/inlinetweet]
“I regret it, yes.
“At the time, it looked like a good opportunity for him to get a game because England played a friendly against Scotland and I thought maybe a game or one half of a game would help him get through that and play at a high-level competition. But he came back injured.
“Did he push himself too hard? Maybe, I don’t know. He overloaded his groin in training. It can happen. It could have happened here as well. You have to accept that.”
Although back to full fitness now, Wenger believes that Walcott has a psychological hurdle to overcome before he can be back to his best – the first tackle.
“He has been out for one year.
“He has to go for contact and today, the game does not forgive you any lack of contact or defensive focus. We have to get that. He is certainly a bit edgy as he has been out for so long.
“About the first tackle? Yes, of course. You must have that in your mind and have to go through that.”
Many fans had hoped that they would get to see Theo from the start in their New Year’s Day game against Southampton at St. Mary’s however it appears as if he will, once again, be on the bench as[inlinetweet prefix=”null” tweeter=”null” suffix=”null”] the club continue to manage his return cautiously to avoid any further setbacks.[/inlinetweet]