Saka’s call up for England reminds me of Walcott – Should we worry?

Will Saka suffer the same fate as Theo Walcott?

As proud as us Arsenal fans are of Bukayo Saka being called up for the Euro 2021 tournament, you can’t help but feel worried, for a number of reasons.

One – after a difficult season with an added pandemic, I worry, as with all our players that have gone to their international teams, they will suffer burnout and not be ready and fit to fire us to a respectable enough season next year.

And two – although he played and scored in their friendly 1-0 win over Austria yesterday, he is not guaranteed a starting place. So flashbacks come to mind of when Theo Walcott was called up to the England squad under Sven-Goran Eriksson for the 2006 World Cup, at the age of just 17, where he did not play in one game during that tournament and England were knocked out in the quarter-finals.

What that did to Theo’s confidence was clear for all to see, despite having all of that potential talent and the ability to become one of England’s, and maybe the worlds best striker. Theo, despite having some good games and times in an Arsenal shirt, didn’t really live up to the prospect he could have been, and after 12 years at Arsenal he found himself at Everton and now Southampton after leaving Arsenal in 2018 with 270 appearances and 65 goals.

I worry the same thing will happen with Saka.

I know it has been 15 years, the game has changed, players have changed as has the manager. But lets not forget, Saka is still young, and after carrying part of the weight on his shoulders to ensure we didn’t get relegated this season, it has been tough mentally and physically on all players, let alone the youngsters.

Saka as we know has come through the academy and has been thrust into the limelight, so far producing, albeit inconsistently along with his team and along with a few other Arsenal players, has done their best in getting us back into the top half of the table. Although it was not enough for Europe or a trophy, you can see the effort and passion put in.

Although there were times, we would have more than one Arsenal player called up for England, like I said you cannot help but be proud, I just hope this isn’t a repeat of 2006!

Here’s hoping hey Gooners?

Shenel Osman

Tags England Saka Walcott

25 Comments

  1. PJ-SA says:

    Please don’t compare Walcott and Saka in any way.

    Saka can control a ball, actually run with a ball at his feet, pass decently, time his runs and cross straight. Walcott could do none of these things. Saka also has a football brain, Walcott definitely did not. Walcott was fast without a ball, that’s about it.

    1. Goonster says:

      Walcott was always a road runner. Everyone knew that. As one pundit said it back then “Walcott has no footballing brain”.

      Saka is very different, has a footballing brain, does not rely on pace but on his intelligence and skill.

    2. Davi says:

      Hahaha I’m not a Walcott fan by any stretch but you go too far sir. Walcott was capable, he was a dangerous player in many respects and his runs from the right wing were very hard to stop. He was also quite talented with the ball and a good finisher. He was just awfully inconsistent (and he didn’t have great football brain, it’s true), which I put down to him not developing a winning mentality due to being given too much (money and game time) too soon.
      Saka is a completely different beast, so much smarter as a footballer and seems so much more grounded, but I do worry about him playing so much at a young age. There’s got to be a limit – we did already see him drop off during the season, presumably due to mental and/or physical fatigue. He will need a break at some point

    3. jon fox says:

      All true and most important of all SAKA has true desire and a great work ethic, whereas Walcott was idle and hid during most games. He coasted through his career and is doing so even now with SAINTS, AS HE DID WITH BOTH US AND EVERTON TOO.

      Walcott had no backbone , Saka has a BIG HEART AND GREAT DESIRE. NOT TO MENTION HIS SUBLIME TALENT TOO. Walcott was a sham player!

      I SAW RIGHT THROUGH HIM IN HIS VERY FIRST SEASON WITH US.

  2. gotanidea says:

    Unlike Walcott, Saka can play well in many positions. Walcott could only play well on the right wing and depended too much on his pace, whereas Saka has better close control and more adept weaker foot

    Saka is also a good left-footed RW, which is rare in England national team. Only Foden can play as an inverted RW in the national team, so Saka will get his chance if Foden is injured or if Southgate wants to use attacking LWB

    1. Declan says:

      Walcott did not only play on the right wing, he also played on the left wing, as an inside forward and at centre forward, four different positions. He also scored a hat trick for England.

      1. gotanidea says:

        Walcott was only consistent on the right wing. Had he been playing well consistently as a CF, his dream role, he would’ve been Arsenal’s main CF

        Walcott’s blistering pace made him able to dribble past four opponents in one match, but he doesn’t have Saka’s close control and adept weaker foot. Therefore Wenger always played him on the right wing, because he was disappointing on the left wing and in CF position

        1. Declan says:

          I was pointing out some facts. You are just giving your opinion.

          1. gotanidea says:

            Fact 1: Walcott’s dream role was CF. But he was mostly assigned on the right wing, because he was highly inconsistent in CF position

            Fact 2: He was also inconsistent on the left wing. Playing in various positions isn’t the same as playing WELL in various roles and you can check his stats for it

          2. Declan says:

            GAI, to answer your below comment as there is no reply button, my facts were saying where he played not how well he played. How you say he played in various positions is just your opinion, which I respect, but not mine, so let’s just call it a day😊

  3. Ba Elkhirsawy says:

    At the end of last season, I thought he really looked exhausted in some games. I hope MA preserve him from burning out due to overplaying.
    He played 46 games for Arsenal only (if you add international games, 5 for senior and 1 for u21 that is over 50, that is way too much).
    I really hope they take good care of him.

  4. Declan says:

    Saka’s call up for England in the Euros is nothing like Walcott’s call up for the World Cup. Saka has 5 England caps whereas Walcott had none when taken to the World Cup and wasn’t used while there. Saka will almost certainly get games in the Euros.

  5. Sean Williams says:

    Walcott relied on speed and timing that was inconsistent. Saka is such a different player with a lot more ‘nous’ about him. Have no worries Saka is a class above Walcott. At some point you have trust…..Saka has that “Je Ne Sais Quoi”.

  6. Val says:

    This is nothing Like when Sven too Walcott to the world cup
    walcott had barely played for Arsenal at that time, was 16 and didnt get 1 min of playing time at the WC.

    Saka has played consistently for 2 seasons + now, is an important member of our first team squad

    How can this remind you of that situation?

    1. Declan says:

      I agree Val, a somewhat ridiculous comparison.

  7. Vie says:

    It’s just a matter of time.Walcott at this time of Saka’s age can never be put anywhere close to Saka.He was never complacent.Its only the hype that killed off his game but he was by far better than Saka.Name a solo Saka goal and I will name multiple Walcott solo goals.His pace was coupled with lots of ability,rarely selfish and his team play with Wilshire,Sanchez,Ozil,Santi and Giroud uptop was far better.He played in a possession Wenger built team.We got no identity of play that’s why players that maximize chances shine and those that play under an identical system are struggling.Let’s wait till he is 25 and see what more he will have to offer

    1. speedy says:

      saka would thrive under wenger even better than walcott did. Look at those players you mention above compare those with the current ones. If only saka has walcott pace.

  8. ThirdManJW says:

    There’s no similarities with their call-ups.

    If I remember correctly, Walcott had barely kicked a ball in the first team, if at all, so it was a truly surprising selection. Whereas Saka has played solidly for about 1.5 years, and mostly as a starter. Saka has also been our best player this season, and of the best young players in the league.

    Given his quality and versatility, I actually think Saka will see a fair amount of game time at the Euros.

    1. Highbury Hero says:

      1.5 years 🤔. In other words since Arteta came.

  9. David Rusa says:

    There is no comparison between Walcott and Saka. Why? Unlike Walcott who had never played for Arsenal’s first team before being selected, Saka is not only a regular starter but one of Arsenal’s best players this season. He will be a good choice for England

  10. RW1 says:

    Walcott was a brainless whippet .. his goals and assists record is that of a below average player that wenger kept hold of for far too long even as the club was selling its quality players … just remembering that we were putting our faith of revival in Walcott and bendtner says everything about why we suffered a lost decade … that saka is a more talented player is beyond doubt … that doesn’t mean in 4 years time he will have fulfilled his potential … that has a lot to do with coaching and management … where there are grounds for concern

    1. Declan says:

      Walcott for Arsenal, 270 appearances, 65 goals.
      Saka for Arsenal, 59 appearances, 6 goals.
      Walcott for England, 47 caps, 8 goals.
      Saka for England, 5 caps, 1 goal.

      Obviously not a fair comparison yet, but time will tell.

  11. Jax says:

    Wenger suggested that Walcott should go to that World Cup and like a fool Sven picked him. Stories leaked by other players in that squad said that he was completely out of his depth so no surprise that he didn’t play one single game. I think it was the next World Cup or Euro that he might have made an impression but was unfortunately injured so didn’t go.
    Saka is already established as a quality versatile player and can compete equally with the rest of the squad members.

  12. Johnson says:

    Saka is more matured when been called than Walcott and there skill set is different at this saka is more matured to play in the England team

  13. Stephanie says:

    Walcott was a decent player. Scored 65 goals, helped us win the FA Cup
    I’m very grateful for His service even if he wasn’t the best

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