Arsene Wenger has confirmed that the wait is almost over and Theo Walcott is only a few days away from making his long awaited return to the pitch after the injury that he picked up in January when playing a FA Cup match against Tottenham Hotspurs.
Theo Walcott has missed over 9 months of action as he has had to recover and stay on the sidelines of Arsenal as he watched them playing Premier League matches week after week but not being able to help inside of the pitch besides just managing to cheer them on.
If the last stages of the recovery of Theo Walcott goes as expected and he does not suffer any further setbacks, then he will be available and ready to play on October 18 when Arsenal locks horns with Hull City.
Even though Walcott has not been featured in any official match of Arsenal in over 9 months, reports are suggesting that Arsenal is preparing to offer him a new deal that would see him remaining at the Emirates Stadium until 2018 as the club wants to secure his services for the upcoming few years.
A few weeks ago Olivier Giroud signed a new contract with Arsenal as the Frenchman signed a deal that runs up until 2018 and Giroud will be earning around €80,000 and now Theo Walcott is on the list of players that Arsene Wenger wants to have tightly secured with a new offer of increased wages and a longer stay with the Premier League club.
Arsene Wenger is happy to see Theo Walcott entering the final stages of his recovery as the French manager said: "Theo's return is a big thing for us. Let's not forget that he got injured on 1 January and we are now in October. That's nine months and we had to wait for a long time."
There is someone in the Arsenal squad now who is even faster than Theo Walcott. It’s Hector Bellerin, the 19-year old defender.
Walcott himself disclosed that while interacting with his fans on a social networking site the other day.
As per Walcott, Bellerin, who belongs to Spain, recently completed a 40-metre sprint in lesser time than him.
Somebody had actually asked Walcott who, he thinks, would come first if a sprint race takes place between him and his former teammate and France legend Thierry Henry.
To that, Walcott replied, “I think it would be me. Thierry is in the veteran’s category now and if at this age, I don’t get better of him speed wise, I would be really gutted. It was me only who had left him behind in sprint a few years ago. However, I have also been left behind now, by Hector Bellerin.”
Bellerin had spent his childhood days at Barcelona, but, when he was 16 years of age, he came to England and joined Arsenal.
He has featured just once for the first team of Gunners, not in the League, but, in the Cup during the 2012-13 Season. He had substituted Mikel Arteta before the start of the extra time in that game.
Bellerin had been on loan in the middle of the previous season for a few weeks. He returned to Emirates again in February and spent the rest of the season on the bench. The right back might get to make his league debut in the upcoming season.
It was Watford where Bellerin had been loaned out to and he had played regularly there. Making 8 Championship appearances, he had done well.
Bellerin has played a handful of international matches too, but, only at the junior levels i.e. U-17 and U-19.
Arsenal winger Theo Walcott, who spent the majority of last season on the sidelines, has said that he is very much looking forward to playing along with the club’s new signing, Alexis Sanchez. After several years of playing catch-up with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City the transfer market, Arsenal have finally started spending money in the last two transfer windows. This helped the club in the trophy drought that started in 2005 with the FA Cup last season. They have managed to improve the squad even further after bringing in Sanchez from Barcelona for £ 30 million.
The Chilean star was a major reason behind his country reaching the last 16 of the World Cup and almost beating hosts Brazil. He is capable of playing anywhere across the front three, which suggests that he is likely to play along with Walcott upfront. Walcott has spoken about the club’s new signing for the first time and he says that Sanchez is a player who will improve the team massively. Following the signing, Arsenal will be regarded as proper title contenders even before the start of the season. Last season, their title challenge withered away during March due to the lack of strength in depth.
Walcott failed to make it to the World Cup yet again due to injury. “Sánchez is a world-class player and I enjoyed watching him play for Barcelona and for Chile at the World Cup. He’s still very young as well and he is going to show so much pace and power, which we lacked a bit last year. With me and him on the flanks, a lot of teams won’t be looking forward to playing Arsenal this year. It is great to learn from these players, and I cannot wait to play alongside him. I am really looking forward to it,” said Walcott.
Theo Walcott’s recovery seems to be on track. The 25-year old forward is all set to be back for his team Arsenal at the start of the 2014-15 Season.
Walcott had got injured severely while representing the Gunners in a FA Cup match against Tottenham Hotspur earlier this year. Not only did that injury rule him out of the remaining part of the Premier League, it also ensured that he wouldn’t feature for the Three Lions in the FIFA World Cup 2014.
Before that injury, Walcott was being considered to be one of the certainties in Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad, but, unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.
Arsenal missed Walcott a lot in the Premier League after that. They clearly looked hampered by the exit of a world class player and their performance kept going down. From being the top contender to win the title, they went to a position where they started struggling for a Champions League place.
The Gunners eventually got that Champions League place though as they finished the season at the 4th position in the table. They even won the FA Cup, but, there is no doubt that if Walcott had not got injured at that crucial juncture; the season would have turned out to be so much better for them.
Walcott, had he been fit, might have Changed England’s fortunes as well in the ongoing FIFA World Cup. The Three Lions are struggling big time in Brazil at the moment. They are clearly missing somebody in peak form upfront.
Walcott, yesterday, uploaded a video of him putting in hard yards in the gym on a social networking site.
The caption of that picture was, “Trained well with Jake, my friend.”
Walcott should be available for Arsenal for their first game next season.
Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger had to work hard in order to lift the FA Cup as they defeated Hull City in a dramatic match which saw both teams scoring twice which forced the encounter to go into added time and a late goal from Aaron Ramsey gave his side the precious triumph.
Wenger and Arsenal were going through a significantly long period of time that saw them being unable of securing any major piece of silverware in over 7 years but this came to an end and Wenger revealed just how important it was for him and his players on winning the FA Cup.
"It was more important today than all the others. Twice we did the double in 1998 and 2002; we had already won a trophy so we were not under the pressure we were today. I've won it now five times, it's not too bad. I'm in good company with Ferguson." Wenger said.
The match picked off in a disastrous fashion for Arsenal as they fell behind 2-0 during the opening 8 minutes of the encounter but goals from Santi Cazorla and Laurent Koscielny obliged the game to continue rolling on for 30 more minutes until Ramsey sealed it for Arsenal.
"We made a demonstration of how to respond to being 2-0 down, and a demonstration of how not to start a Cup final. I was shocked. We were a bit hesitant and you wonder if the shock would be too hard, but this team has a special spirit and a special togetherness to respond." Wenger continued speaking after winning the crucial match.
Arsenal spent the majority of the Premier League season in pole position but as the campaign progressed on, their charge for the top spot started to fade and disappear. Wenger is grateful that the team managed to hold on to the 4th spot but he is ecstatic about adding another trophy to his cabinet.
When Theo Walcott had got injured and had been sidelined for the rest of the season at the start of this year, very few people would have thought that it would take the sting out of Arsenal. Yes, it was believed to be a big blow, but, not a season changing blow, that’s for sure, but, it did have a big impact on the performances of the Gunners. They completely lost their way.
The thing with Walcott is that he is quite versatile. He can play on the wings and also, as a main striker and his speed is as good as anybody else in the world. But, the same can’t be said about the other Arsenal strikers. Let’s talk about Olivier Giroud which has been playing upfront regularly of late for the Gunners. He is someone who is lot slower than Walcott. Yes, he has a good height and thus, he is a threat in air, but, on the ground, he is not that efficient.
And, unfortunately, after that Walcott blow, Arsenal’s main weapon Mesut Ozil has lost his rhythm too. He was going great guns in the first half of the season, but, in this half, he hasn’t been able to dominate and that has made the team miss Walcott even more.
When 2014 started, Arsenal was one of the top contenders to lift the league trophy, but, within 4 months, they are out of the race. The best they can do from here is to qualify for the Champions League. Even that is looking difficult at the moment.
People can blame the boss Arsene Wenger here as well. They can say that he should have had another player ready on the bench for somebody like Walcott, but, the reality is that it’s not easy to replace an impact player.
It has been over 6 years since Arsene Wenger has managed to secure any major titles with Arsenal and because of his lack of silverware, the French tactician is under a lot of criticism. Some fans even want him out of the club as they don’t have faith in him.
Wenger endured his 1,000th match in charge of Arsenal a few weeks ago when they played against Chelsea and suffered a disappointing 6-0 defeat against the team of Jose Mourinho.
Despite sustaining such a devastating result and with the Premier League title appearing to be out of the reach of Arsenal for another year, Theo Walcott considers Wenger to be one of the best managers around as he only had praise when talking about the French coach.
"To get that many games at such a high level and on a consistent basis, with the amount of players he's worked with shows what a true great manager he is. He has been in the game for such a long time. He knows it inside out. I can't see anyone getting near to it at that consistent level."
"The manager has never given up and plays the right football and if you look at the club he makes sure the club balances the books," Walcott told BT Sport in an interview to be aired before today's game. That is why it is such a great club because everything is right. It is just that final hurdle which could definitely happen this season."
"He's given the opportunity for young players to develop and play. I wouldn't change anything for the world. The manager was a massive thing. I went to have a first meeting with him, he was pointing things out to me and I was only 16 at the time and I was a bit overwhelmed to be sat next to the boss’’. Walcott said.
Arsene Wenger claimed that despite having to cope the rest of the season without Theo Walcott, the long-term future of the player is very positive and suggested his fans not to expect him to be ready for the 2014 World Cup as his injury is already confirmed to leave him out of action for the worldwide event.
"The damage was real in the knee so he will have to take the needed time, so let's not be hopeful that he will go to the World Cup, that is not possible but overall his long-term future is very positive," Wenger said to the Arsenal Player. "It is about being fit for next season now."
Arsenal is going through one of their best seasons in recent times as they are at the top of the Premier League along with Manchester City and Chelsea but Arsenal’s squad has been suffering from a number of injuries that has seen some of their players being unable to play including Thomas Vermaelen who was out with a knee injury, Mikel Arteta who is struggling with a calf problem and Aaron Ramsey.
Even with all of these injuries, Wenger still remains optimistic that he has enough quality and talent on his squad to keep Arsenal fighting at the top of the league.
"We have fantastic players in midfield and it always allows us to keep what we call the 'engine' of the team fresh." Wenger stated as he praised his team.
Theo Walcott sustained the season ending injury during Arsenal’s 2-0 triumph against Tottenham back in January. Just as the English player was being removed from the pitch on a stretcher he displayed gestures to the Tottenham which caused them on launching coins and plastic bottles at Walcott and now the police are searching for 3 men that initiated the attacks.
Theo Walcott came back from an injury not too long ago and ever since completing his recovery, the English winger is coming back into the pitch in full force as he scored twice against West Ham United and in Arsenal’s match against Newcastle United, Walcott provided the assist for the only goal of the match as the team guided by Arsene Wenger snatched all 3 points.
When Walcott was asked if he thought about the 2014 World Cup during his recovery, he insisted in saying that all he was thinking about was becoming fit and helping Arsenal in their journey of the Premier League and the Champions League.
The former Southampton player said: “I was not worried about the World Cup when I was out injured, not at all’’.
“I wasn’t ¬thinking about the World Cup or ¬anything. The ¬priority was to get fit.I am happy to be back ¬scoring goals and happy to be playing in this team, which is top of the Premier League. If I were not happy, something would be wrong.”
“I do not want to be looking too far ahead. Maybe when the World Cup took place in South Africa in 2010, maybe I was looking ahead to that. But right now my focus is on the Premier League and the Champions League. The games are coming thick and fast’’.
Despite having a final scoreboard of 0-0 against Chelsea, Walcott said he was happy with the result considering the fact that they had suffered from a shocking 6-3 defeat against Manchester City earlier in the season.
“But after losing 6-3 against Manchester City last week, it was important to have a very good defensive performance. When you concede six after being a very good defensive team this season, it’s very hard to come back from that. You need to react in the right way. We did that against Chelsea.” Walcott added.
Theo Walcott will not be able to feature for Arsenal for the next couple of weeks as he is still trying to recover completely from the surgery that he had gone through last month.
The English forward had started light training recently and he was expected to be one of the substitutes in the upcoming Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund, but, that wasn’t the case to be. Yesterday, he felt the pain in his abdomen again and the medical team decided that he needed to be on the sidelines for a bit more time.
Talking to the reporters about Walcott’s fitness yesterday, the Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said, “Theo felt a bit of pain today and he has been ruled out for the next few games. He needs at least 15 more days to be able to return.”
After the game against Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal has to play a Premier League game against Crystal palace and then, they will face Chelsea in a Capital One Cup game. Walcott will not make appearance in either of those two games. He has a slight chance of making it to the squad for the game against Liverpool which will take place on 2nd of November.
Because of his abdominal surgery, Walcott hadn’t featured for England in the World Cup qualifying games recently. On his place, Andros Townsend got the opportunity and he grabbed it with both hands. Now, when Walcott returns, he will have to compete with this youngster for a place in the starting line up.
England has to play a couple of friendly matches against Chile and Germany respectively next month and Walcott is expected to be named in the squad for those two games. Both those games will be organized at the Wembley Stadium.