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When Sven-Goran Eriksson selected Theo Walcott for the 2006 World Cup, great things were expected of the English winger. His hat-trick against Croatia in Zagreb only heightened those expectations, but the sailing has not been exceptionally smooth for the youngster.
Throughout his career, Walcott has been a victim of constant injuries and inconsistency. The constant pressure of being in the limelight and criticism from all sides has never helped him fulfill his promise.
Walcott has had to live with people like Chris Waddle making claims that he doesn’t possess a footballing brain and the likes of Alan Hansen criticizing him, even after scoring a hat-trick against Blackpool.
Until this year, Walcott has been frustratingly inconsistent and there have been several question marks over his decision-making.
But this year, he has been an absolute revelation for the Gunners. Walcott has already notched up 11 goals and eight assists this season and is now a regular feature in Arsenal’s starting lineup.
He has produced man of the match performances against the likes of Chelsea, Blackpool and has been a constant threat down the right flank against every team.
Against Wolves he continually beat his marker, using his pace to good effect and set up van Persie’s second with a well-timed pass.
Walcott could have easily scored a brace himself. He was a great threat, especially towards the end as Arsenal looked to rip apart Wolves on the counter.
There were times when he showed a lack of proper judgment especially when presented with goalscoring opportunities, but on the whole it was a fine performance.
Walcott’s biggest asset is his searing pace and this season he has put it to great effect. But that has not helped in stopping the criticism. People still continue to question Walcott’s judgment.
It’s time for people to understand that he is just 21 years of age. This season, there has been a tremendous improvement in his game and the constant criticism can only do harm.
He is immensely talented and has a bright future ahead of him. Why try to kill something before it has had a chance to grow? Just let the kid play, something he is doing just fine.