Arsenal

Mr. Capello, Please Boycott Theo Walcott

ATHENS, GREECE - DECEMBER 09:  Theo Walcott of Arsenal tries to go past Raul Bravo of Olympiakos during the UEFA Champions League Group H match between Olympiakos and Arsenal at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium on December 9, 2009 in Athens, Greece.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
dennis berryContributor IDecember 10, 2009

Last night, I had the pleasure of watching Arsenal's youngster's take on Olympiakos and lose 1-0. Wenger should have been mainly pleased with his team's performance, considering that the only real regular faces were those of Song and Walcott.

I was particularly impressed with Aaron Ramsey and Fran Merida, who, between them, look like real superstars in the making. They showed great passing ability and range, barely giving possession away and threading slick through balls past the Greeks' defence on several occasions.

Alas, Arsenal's forwards, arguably more famous, were far less impressive. Vela was guilty of missing at least two good chances when played in by the aforementioned wonderkids, but since he is generally acknowledged to be a player-in-the-making, Wenger shouldn't hit the panic button yet.

Walcott, however, has no excuse. Twice last night he was put clean through, but his awful first touch came to the fore both times as he allowed lumbering Olof Mellberg to catch up from way behind before he could control the ball.

Another passage of play which shocked me involved a burst of Theo's pace down the left after a good pass from Merida, only for him to get caught in two minds with three good options available both in and around the box.

The result was an aimless miskick. After these poor moments, which all came in a ten minute spell in the first half, Walcott was literally marked out of the game by Mellberg. For a player of Walcott's pace, that is pathetic.

That is the problem with Theo Walcott. His is all gas but no class. He may have pace, but he's definitely no ace. Last night's performance was a showcase of why Walcott simply is not good enough to become England's number one winger.

Based on technical ability, I'd take Lennon and Wright-Phillips over him any day—and both of those players are much faster than your average, too. He can't be justified on work merits while James Milner continues to breathe.

Hell, I'd take Beckham over Walcott—no one can deliver a pass or cross like Golden Balls himself.

And all those above players (maybe not Beckham) are performing masterclasses week in, week out to justify their place. Walcott has spent the best part of a year (!) on the operating table and after a mild collision last night he was rolling around in agony yet again.

Why on earth Capello would take someone so injury prone and lightweight to a World Cup, when England are in a group with physical teams like the USA, is simply beyond me.

Walcott also tends to disappear when it matters. He may be all fine and dandy against paceless, out of form teams (i.e Croatia last year) but he simply vanishes when the pressure gets too much—Patrice Evra and Ashley Cole had a great laugh last season when Walcott was deployed against them.

This was another deficiency demonstrated last night—after the tiny moments of danger he posed in the first half, he literally vanished off the pitch after Arsenal went one down.

So, altogether, Mr Capello, please tell Theo to stay at home next summer. He is technically poor, mentally poor, and far too injury prone to challenge the likes of Lennon and Milner, who have become integral to their clubs.

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