As I tuned into the Everton v Watford game on Monday night I couldn’t help but wonder how Theo Walcott has been getting on since he left Arsenal.
Although he was cast aside by Arsene Wenger before the Frenchman departed, cut off because of a post-match interview that Wenger seemed unable to get over, it’s doubtful the new regime would have kept him on at the club.
For many, Walcott is still a player with ‘potential’, a label he arrived with at Arsenal when he was just 16.
He’s 29 now and will turn 30 the day before St. Patrick’s Day. Not only should Theo be in his prime, but he should also be just on top of the hill about to come down the other side.
I can’t say that I paid that much attention to Everton v Watford on Monday night until Watford struck to pull themselves level and then took the lead three minutes later through a Seamus Coleman own goal.
Marco Silva’s response to going behind at home to the Hornets was to hook Walcott when they needed a goal desperately.
That tells you all you need to know, really.
I decided to have a look at some Everton fan forums to get an idea of what they think of Walcott, although I was sure I could guess. On their subreddit, the fourth post was entitled ‘Walcott does my head in’ dated a month ago.
Inconsistency seems to be the biggest gripe but, like his time at Arsenal, he has enough fans saying ‘give him a chance’ as to make the issue divisive. How many chances does he have to be given before people realise this is just who he is and he’s not likely to get any better at this stage of his career?
Walcott made his Premier League debut in 2006. That’s 12 years ago. If he hasn’t found consistency by this point, you must admit it is never going to come.
This season he has three goals and two assists in 17 games and overall for Everton he has six and five in 31. Compared to his Arsenal rate when he scored or assisted a goal every 126 minutes, his rate at Everton is one every 211 minutes. That’s not really surprising when you think Arsenal tend to score more goals than Everton on average, but it’s hard to see Walcott bursting forth and throwing his inconsistent tag to the wind as he closes in on his 30th birthday.
I like Walcott. Sort of.
He’s pretty inoffensive although I went right off him during that one season he decided he was going to celebrate as if he was a clone of arrogant, late-era Henry.
I never really got back on the Walcott train after that.
I watched him play out of his skin as he demanded a massive wage increase and position change and then watched him slump back down to normal levels before the ink was dry.
I waited and waited and waited for his potential to blossom but injury and application always seemed to get in his way.
There were a few Arsenal fans who thought we might regret letting Walcott leave for Everton almost a year ago.
The rest, however, must surely be wondering why we held on to him for so long.