Individual Player Analysis: Theo Walcott

Walcott is a paradox of sorts in that he is a very gifted, yet unfortunate, young man. His athleticism and speed are natural talents that none can acquire with practice. On the other hand, he has the misfortune of being English, which means his technical skills are limited (I don’t have anything against the English/British but, in my opinion players from some of the other European countries are technically better, in general) and the pressure on him has been immense ever since a stupid decision took him to the last World Cup.

I also believe that it’s unfair to judge a player like him at this stage. If he’d been fully fit over the last two years and had still shown a lack of development then his critics would have been justified. But when a youngster is always under pressure to perform and has missed large parts of the last two seasons we have to cut him some slack.

Those with a keen eye would have observed that I did acknowledge the fact that Theo has not developed as well as we all expected. I believe even Arsene won’t deny that. At the same time, there is no way anyone can rationally proclaim that Walcott will never develop into a world class player.

Let’s look at his strengths and weaknesses,


  • Blistering pace
  • Fantastic timing of runs
  • Creates a lot of space for others
  • Good finishing skills, especially when in space
  • Good work rate
  • Disciplined backtracking
  • Unselfish team-player

Areas of Improvement

  • Needs to improve his touch and control over the ball while running
  • Crossing (it’s an area where the whole team needs to improve so the problem could be with the training and coaches)
  • Decision making
  • Predictable nature of dribbling

If you think about it, most of his weaknesses can be improved upon with training and experience. He won’t become a Messi with the ball but he can certainly learn to do better than the likes of Lennon, Valencia, and Malouda who are all much older and were not at the same level at his age. Of course, there is always the risk that he goes down the path of Pennant and Bentley. Much like Nasri, Walcott is at a critical stage in his career. Hard work and a level head can see him through.

I’m convinced he’s improved a lot in the last couple of years. His control is getting better and his final ball has improved as well. Now he needs to find consistency. That and better tactical use of his strengths could give us another legendary No. 14!

15 Responses to Individual Player Analysis: Theo Walcott

  1. Mohamed says:

    Good post.You pay attention to detail and don’t just follow the bandwagon.

    Theo is a special case. I believe he is a good player, but if he only new when to dribble, then he would instantly be in the world class section.

    I think it would be very beneficial to him to learn new skills or just get more comfortable with the ball and become more spontaneous with the ball.

    Ultimately that is what will dictate his career.If he was a defender then you could understand doing things in coordinated way but essentially in a attacking position you need not only to attack but to be creative in your attack, to unsettle defenders.That is why players that grasp this concept along with the high level of understanding of football are so hard to come by e.g Ribery, Torres, Villa, Messi

  2. travis says:

    I agree with everything you said except the fact that he can improve! injury or no injury he is not a kid anymore and even when hes on the bench he is still training day in and day out with world class players, i would pick wilshire or eboue over him anyday!!!

    Walcott has no skill, touch, ball control, vision , he cant pass for shit and crosses worse than my wife. maybe he should consider becoming a defender…….

    • desigunner says:

      I think he missed a lot of pre-season and also a lot of training because of his injury. It’s not fair to expect everyone to be like Cesc or RvP i.e. they can start playing at the top level at any moment.

      A lot of top players need continuous training and match time to develop, especially early on in their careers.

    • golin says:

      well Millner just won young player awards and he is 24! People still talk about Millner as one of the most exciting young players in britain! if Millner is a kid surly Walcott is! Walcott is only 21

  3. Phil23 says:

    Travis made me think of Walcott doing an Alves. Imagine that! All he would have to do is learn how to tackle and get good defensive positioning and he would be a lethal weapon! I’m not suggesting he should but it would be interesting to see. haha

  4. James says:

    People complain about us not having significant backup but I did some research and I think he was great backup

    ST – Chamak, Bendtner
    ST – Van Persie, Eduardo, Vela

    LM – Arshavin, Nasri
    RM – Walcott, Rosicky
    A CM – Fabregas, Ramsey, Wislhere
    CM – Diaby, SOng, Denilson

    RB – Sagna, Eboue
    LB – Clichy, Gibbs
    CB – Koscielny, Djourou, Sol
    CB – Vermaelen, Norvedit

    GK – Schwarzer, Almunia

    ——– Van Persie — Chamak —————
    Arshavin —- Song —- Fabrgeas —– Rosicky
    Clichy — Vermaelen —- Koscielny —- Sagna
    ————————- Schwarzer

    New Arrivals
    Chamak – ST
    Koscielny – CB
    Schwarzer – GK

    less than 10 million pounds in transfer fees and a good looking team by any standards we might sell Eduardo and Rosicky and bring in cole in his place but that’s about it

    DO you think with this team we have a chance of winning the PL next season?

    • desigunner says:

      I’d prefer a CB who can play DM. And I’m not sure Nordveit is anywhere close to being ready. Otherwise it’s a good enough squad.

  5. bal says:

    since when did schwarzer sign for us

  6. luke says:

    Very definitely there is a problem with training and coaching other than passing. In the seasons past,once some players were interviewed after penalty shoot-out,that no penalty,free kicks taking.or set pieces shooting practices in front of goal regimes except leaving just to individual talents seems to be the order of the day. OK when players had top competition experience,when youths need more discipline than that. A very grey area feeds blatant frustration and questions,because it may still be the case.

  7. brian says:

    If we could get decent money for him I would sell him now.He just has not developed any sort of consistency and always promises more than he delivers.

  8. shaun says:

    Unless Walcott get a brain transplant, i dunno how he can improve his decision making skills. These skills are inborn, instinctive and cannot be taught thru coaching.

    • desigunner says:

      I can understand if you say vision is something one is born with. Decision making always improves with time and that is true in any walk of life. That is one of the main reasons experience is highly valued – people learn to do the right things with experience.

  9. Gtr gooner says:

    Some critics are so impatient with walcott. They dont realise walcott has had a start-stop season. I still have faith in him. He is just inconsistent, needs to prepare himself well for next season and utilize this time rather than to relax. He is just 21, one injury free season will judge his real potential. And one more thing Arsene knows better than all of us he watches him daily so he will do what is good for club. I think theo is getting more criticism than what he deserves just because he is english. English press really gives him a stick, that creates an added pressure on his still young shoulders

  10. manama says:

    walcot should also work on his backtracking.dont think he’s good at it.i dont mean roaming when we are attacked,i mean he should cover properly for the fullbak.he also needs an increased awareness of opponents around him and how to get to beat them,not just running at the opponent and losing posssesion.he’l com thru good if he stoops to learn.goodluck to the boy.

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