Thursday, 9 February 2012

Sink or swim time for Theo

Theo Walcott must be a slightly worried man at the moment. He always looks to me as if he's carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, but right now he will be feeling under more pressure than usual.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has emerged as a competitor, not only for his place in the Arsenal team, but in the England team as well.

With Gervinho due to return from the African Cup of Nations shortly and Oxlade-Chamberlain impressing everyone with his performances in the Ivorian's absence, who will Arsene Wenger select out of Gervinho, Theo and Ox?

And with Fabio Capello resigning as England manager and Harry Redknapp looking the most likely bloke to take over, it is possible that the new manager will have different ideas than the old one.

If Radknapp does get the job, will Aaron Lennon be given more games? If you were England manager who would you pick for the wide positions out of Walcott, Young, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Johnson, Lennon and a much improved Stuart Downing?

Theo and Young are probably in pole position at the moment. Capello has stuck by Theo when his form has not been the greatest simply because he can see the potential in him, but with tough competitive matches coming up in the European Championship finals, will Redknapp (or whoever else gets the job) pick more on form?

Theo can still be a top class player. He is still young (people forget that) and, despite regularly frustrating the fans who see him continually struggling to fulfil his potential, he has shown steady improvement each season since he has been at Arsenal.

There are two ways that this can go for Walcott. He can go into his shell and loose confidence like we have seen from him on occasions in the past, or he can either knuckle down, see the competition as a good thing and come out a better player.

Personally, I think the competition will be good for the player. Arsene Wenger has a habit of mollycodling his young players and protecting them from too much competition as he believes this is what is best for their development.

Alex Ferguson has a different approach – it's either sink or swim. If a young player isn't playing well enough to get into the team, he will be dropped. Occasionally, this means that young players fall by the wayside, but that probably means that they were never good enough in the first place.

And I believe it gives players a competitive edge – if a player isn't used to fighting for his place in the team then it seems logical that he is less well equipped to fight for his team when the going gets tough.

So, Theo, it's time to sink or swim.

(Picture courtesy Ronnie McDonald)

Share via Social Network


No comments:

Post a Comment