Theo Walcott injured a cruciate ligament in his knee in January 2014, but despite him playing his first comeback game in October last year the Arsenal striker is still deemed not to be at peak fitness yet.
He played his first senior game in November but then suffered a groin injury while on England duty and did not start again until after the New Year against Hull, although he was on the bench for the second half of December.
Since then he has started just one more League game (West Ham March) but has made five subs appearances, and Wenger is still adamant that Walcott is not fit and ready yet to play a full 90 minute match. Le Prof said after his run out with England this week: “I don’t worry about Theo because he’s not completely there yet with his fitness.
“I told you a few times that he has been out for a year with a very bad injury and he’s coming back. He is on course to come back, but he’s not completely there.
“Every time he comes on or when he’s started, he has scored a goal. He is not fragile mentally, he is strong mentally. But he is disappointed because when you come back you always think you are ready.”
“He needs patience,” Wenger continued. “He is at the moment not in his best mood. He has big confidence in himself and he has gone through some difficult periods in his life and he has always come out with strength.”
Walcott was mostly ineffectual for England against Italy, and his Boss believes he was played out of position in the centre by Roy Hodgson. And despite having said that Walcott is “strong mentally”, Wenger also thinks he is a sensitive soul at the moment!
Le Prof said: “Theo’s sensitive and I’m a bit concerned about the damage that game can have on his mind,”
“Being exposed like that, people have a harsh judgment on him that is not deserved.”
So six months after his original return, and over three months since his groin injury, Wenger still doesn’t think the winger is mentally or physically ready to play in the Premiership. With just two months left of the season, perhaps he should just let him recuperate until next season?