Poor Theo Walcott spent years trying to convince Arsene Wenger to convert him from being a winger to being Arsenal’s centre-forward, just like his hero Thierry Henry before him. This season he finally got his wish and the switch worked quite well for a few weeks before the England international inevitably got injured.
But on his return Olivier Giroud had struck form, and when Theo was given a chance the goals had dried up and he just seemed to be running around like a headless chicken to no effect whatsoever. In previous seasons Walcott scored his fair share of goals from the wing (when fit) but now he can’t even score from out on the flanks. It is obvious he is having a crisis of confidence, and Wenger is usng him sparingly in any position.
But Wenger refuses to criticise him too much. “He works very hard,” Le Prof said. “I must say he puts the effort in in training.
“At the moment for him, and for Giroud, it’s a bit more difficult. But that’s part of the competition. [Theo] understands that as well and he is fighting very hard.
“But in our job things can change very quickly from one week to the next, it can change.
“He had good periods in the season. After I think, recently, he has gone through a much more difficult period. But he will come back.
“Theo wants to play on the right and through the middle. You have to fix yourself somewhere. When he doesn’t go through the middle, he thinks ‘maybe for me it’s better on the right’.
“It’s true that at some stage I fixed him more through the middle, because of the quality of his runs, the intelligence of his runs, and he has improved a lot his finishing.
“He can be a player through the middle. And on the flanks today you have to work very hard defensively.”
So now Theo is in no mans land and there seem to be much better options like Welbeck and Iwobi in the squad. So if you were the Arsenal manager, would you tell Theo to concentrate on being a striker? Or a winger?