Carlo Ancelotti called on Theo Walcott to show more bravery and be an example to the youngsters at Everton but I’m not sure that’s something the 30-year-old has in his locker.
That’s right, Theo Walcott is 30. He’ll be 31 in less than two months.
He is so far past ‘potential’ he’s out the other side and on his way down the hill without ever fulfilling what his £10m move from Southampton in 2005 promised, at least not consistently.
Sold to Everton in the summer of 2018 for more than twice what Arsenal paid for him (£20.25m), Walcott hasn’t really seized his chance to be a big fish in a smaller pond after flapping around the Arsenal paddling pool for 12 years.
Since signing for The Toffees, Walcott has scored just nine goals, with seven assists, in 74 appearances. He has started just 10 league games this season and been subbed off in every one so far. Injuries, of course, have also struck, but have yet to cost him any significant gametime.
Speaking ahead of Everton’s game against Newcastle on Tuesday night, Carlo Ancelotti called on Walcott, as one of the most experienced players in the squad, to show more bravery, but I just don’t think he has that in his locker.
“If you want to play football at a certain level, you have to be brave. You cannot be shy,” said Ancelotti.
“You have to take responsibility and the players with more quality have to take responsibility. Here in general we have a young squad, but players with a strong personality and players who are experienced like Delph and Walcott who can help the young to show more bravery and have more courage.
“I like the players who are going to take responsibility on the pitch. It is true in the first half against West Ham we were too shy. I told the players that if you are shy you cannot play football, you have to do something different. Against West Ham, it was like this.”
Unfortunately for Ancelotti – and Walcott- shyness has always been one of his most overriding traits and his inability to impose himself on games has always been a weak point.
Can Ancelotti change that in a player we all still think of as a youngster despite approaching 31 when Arsene Wenger failed throughout Walcott’s formative years? It seems like an unlikely.
Walcott’s contract expires with Everton at the end of next season so it would be unsurprising to see him sold this summer. It has been an underwhelming time on Merseyside for a player England once hoped would lead his generation.
After making his debut for his country in 2006 against Hungary in a friendly and then taken to the World Cup when he was just 17 and hadn’t even played a game for Arsenal, Walcott went on to play just 47 times for his country, a figure that can be explained by both form and a series of injuries.
14 years later, has yet to play a World Cup game.