Matt Le Tissier thinks Theo Walcott needs to leave Arsenal and find a manager who really believes in him.
Arsène Wenger has given Theo 10 appearances so far this season, including the captaincy against Norwich and Red Star Belgrade, but the England international hasn’t started a single Premier League game, and has been passed over by Gareth Southgate for England again.
It’s almost exactly a year since Walcott last played for England, and Le Tissier told talkSPORT that the 28-year-old should have moved on somewhere he can be a trusted starter, saying: “There have been periods where it has been decent for him there (at Arsenal). But there have been other periods where injury or loss of form has stifled him a little bit.
“I was surprised when he signed his last contract with Arsenal. If I’m honest, I thought he was due a fresh challenge. He looked like a player who needed freshening up [and] a player that needed to be played every week and to have a manager who believes in him, 100 per cent.”
From my point of view, it seemed like Wenger had a lot of faith in Theo until last season.
Arsène kept rewarding the winger with new contracts, and even gave him opportunities to play up front. Last year Walcott became part of a regular front-three alongside Iwobi and Alexis Sanchez, only ever missing out through injury.
Then there was that match against Crystal Palace, and suddenly everything changed.
Arsenal lost 3-0, and Theo told the media that Palace ‘wanted it more’.
Since then, Wenger has only picked him to start in one league game out of 18, and that looks likely to become one in 19 on Sunday, considering Walcott’s Thursday involvement against Red Star Belgrade.
Perhaps that will change when the Europa League and League Cup matches are replaced with mid-week Premier League matches in the busier periods of the season, but for me it doesn’t seem like Theo is close to becoming first choice.