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Theo Walcott might just have made a believer out of one of his harshest critics. Regular Bleacher Report readers will know that this author has been critical of Walcott in the past.
The contention has never concerned Walcott's talent, but rather his effort and the notion that he has to play centrally to be effective. However, after watching Walcott wreak havoc in the Reading defense with a series of central runs in and around the box, it might be time to grant the contract rebel's wish to start through the middle.
Walcott regularly glided in from wide areas and quickly darted through gaps in the middle. The speed and craft of his movement frightened every Reading defender and created huge spaces for other Arsenal attackers.
This is the kind of movement that should be a regular feature of Walcott's game and not just a fleeting glimpse of what might be. He was rewarded for his efforts with three goals, showcasing not only his pace, but also his intelligence in the box.
Based on this performance, Wenger needs to experiment with ways to involve Walcott more through the middle. The England youngster has certainly earned the right to have a start as a central striker.
The Capital One Cup quarterfinal, a tie Walcott's dominant, match-winning performance guaranteed, is the ideal time to begin those experiments in earnest.