Monday, May 20, 2024

Wenger on Walcott’s pace, potential & new deal

Arsene Wenger believes Theo Walcott remains faster than Hector Bellerin, despite the defender being crowned Arsenal’s sprint king over 40 metres, and says it’s pretty obvious that neither are as quick as professional sprinters.

Both the England international and his Spanish team mate were challenged this week by sprinter Richard Kilty, the current world indoor champion over 60 metres, who was clearly riled by a ridiculous report claiming Bellerin’s 4.42 seconds over 40 metres would see him lead Usain Bolt over the same distance.

On Twitter, Kilty posted: “Media claiming @HectorBellerin can run 4.42 over 40m. Absolutely no way. Are these journalists complete morons! I will put £30,000 on the line to race @HectorBellerin & @theowalcott any sprint distance, any time, any place, anywhere. The race will be over very quick. So if they put their money down I will gladly show everyone they can not sprint as fast as the media claim.”

Asked about the challenge in his pre-Reading press conference Wenger touched on why speed in football is a different quality to the pure-form undertaken by specialist athletes.

“I believe that Walcott is our fastest player, and I agree completely that the sprinters are quicker than football players, but it’s different runs. You know, a football player runs with football boots on grass, it’s different kinds of runs, it’s not only pure pace.

“The pace in our job starts with the brain and of course then you put in action what you analysed on the pitch. But pure speed, I am convinced that the sprinters, who are specialists, are quicker than football players.”

Presumably the boss went straight to the changing rooms to tell Hector and Theo that he’d saved them £30,000 each and then asked for his cut, warning that neither of them will play on Saturday unless the cash arrives by 5pm.

Wenger may of course just deduct Theo’s IOU from his new contract, something he’s confident the two parties can thrash out in the future.

“Yes, I’m confident,” he said on the subject. “I believe Theo has a great future. He’s just coming back from a very, very difficult injury and every week he’s getting better.

“He’s very young and I believe he will have a great goalscoring record in future because of the quality and intelligence of his game, therefore I would like him to stay with our club.”

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This Kilty guy seems buttheart over some media bull.

Anonymous Physicist

It’s a shame he’s challenged them personally, rather than challenging whoever put this story out to put some money on the line. I understand the feeling though – footballers probably have the lowest standard of professionalism in training, living and in-competition behaviour among all top athletes. And now the true top athletes, like professional sprinters, not just have to put up with footballers being incredibly overpaid and overhyped, but are also being told by the media that footballers would be better at their jobs.


Surely American footballers have a lower standard of professionalism if we’re painting with the big brush!

Anonymous Physicist

Yeah, I guess there are sports with a lower standard of professionalism. But compared to the typical big Olympic sports, like athletics and swimming, as well as such divergent sports as hockey, mountainbiking, formula1, etc., the standard of professionalism in football is pretty terrible.

Also, I know that there are many footballers who do live and behave at what I would call proper professional athlete standards, but there are so many more who don’t come close, and still rake in more money than doctors, teachers, engineers or pretty much any other highly trained proffesionals.

Mark Hughes

You mean athletics and swimming which has been riddled with drug scandals recently and Formula 1 with drivers throwing their toys out the pram because they lost, that sort of professionalism?

Red Cannon

I don’t think Olympians are necessarily terribly profession, either. Witness Tonya Harding. Or Michael Phelps’ multiple times being photographed smoking weed.

Power (& fame) corrupts, & it skews one’s perception of the world & acceptable behavior in it.

Anonymous Physicist

Doesn’t the fact that drug cases in other sports are usually about serious performance enhancing drugs, while in football it’s always something recreational that’s just bad for you in every way, also tell part of the story? I wouldn’t condone performance enhancing drug use in any way, but a long distance runner on cocaine could definitely forget about being competitive. I agree that I’m probably using too broad a brush though. And it may well just be the money and fame, and the fact that so many more footballers have those two than athletes in any other sport (in Europe… Read more »


I feel bad for you. As someone who worked in football at a high level too, you are 100% soot on, but I don’t expect football fans here to see that. Of course there’s always examples of bad behaviour in all sports, but in regards to just pure professionalism and general attitude to work, footballers are the worst (can’t comment on American football as I’ve never worked in it). It’s not even up for dispute really, ask anyone who works in football (but also in other sports). I’ll never forget when one of our academy players at the time was… Read more »


Think that’s a little unfair. Though I agree they’re grossly overpaid, I think any lack of professionalism is blown up out of all proportion. When we had the Olympics several of them confirmed that there were huge orgies in the athletes’ village after they finished competing, while Bolt seemed to be making his way around London getting pissed and- one would assume- sleeping with as many girls as possible. Not that I’m criticising it, sounds like a lot of fun, but imagine if the German team had come out and said that post-WC!


The broad brush is the problem. It’s just not good enough.
Broad Brush Out.


Apparently some do not know bona fide world class athletes are recruited to the NFL from track and field such as sprinters to take wide receiver roles for example. Additionally, often players are multi-discipline through college, running track and field or playing American football and baseball or basketball to collegiate level. That some misbehave has little to do with the application the majority apply to their career. Most top US athletes (particularly football and basketball) are on another level when it comes to training. Many NFL and NBA players conduct their own training camps through the off season to maintain… Read more »


This has to be one of the most uninformed comments I have read in a while. The misbehaviour of a few has nothing to do with the unbelievable level of training and commitment US athletes put into sports such as American football and basketball. World class athletes (track and field) are regularly recruited to the NFL to take wide receiver roles for example. In fact college athletes attend ‘The NFL Combine’ in the off season before the pro draft where all players undergo extensive and varied tests so the pro teams can assess them further prior to the draft. One… Read more »


Footballers generally have a pretty good standard of professionalism in training. Yes, some aren’t so good but I could cite plenty of examples of athletes from other sports being equally as bad or worse. Ricky ‘Fatton’ for example would put on 40lbs + between fights and still reached the very top of his sport. Imagine a footballer putting on 3 stone in weight over the summer break… haha


Basically, there is a correlation between the more money there is in the sport, the more unprofessional the athletes become in the given sport.

Rozza the samourai

Baseball players are clearly fat, old and often use drugs. Football must be one of the cleanest. What are you talking about ?


Are they ignoring that sprinters start from blocks while our tests probably have a running start? There must be a simple answer…

I’d like Theo to stay and fight for his place.


Yep you’re probably right and I imagine the test was brought in similar to the NFL scouting combine. But that time over 40 meters is still very fast.

Sirh Riam

fastest NFL combine 40 yard dash was ran in about 4.20, 4.19 sec…why doesn’t this guy challenge them instead? 😀


Yards are shorter than meters. The times are probably equivalent if you extrapolate the difference in distance

Dick Swiveller

Sounds like Theo might get a start at the weekend, seems very much like a gauntlet being thrown down.

A Nonny Mouse

Maybe if Debuchy is fit to play. I think a fair part of the reason we haven’t seen Theo is because Wenger wants someone who can cover defensively whilst we are playing Bellerin, who likes to get forward and may make some mistakes due to lack of experience.

positive man

Personally id like for Walcott to stay, mainly because it is hard to replicate pre ACL injury form, look at Falcao and Owen the cunt. Both suffered but neither one of them had Mr Wenger backing them.

Walcott's left footed curl

My father was a professional athlete in his youth and had a friend who were a professional footballer. They’d used to sprint each other over 60m and 100m, and the footballer always beat him the first ten, twenty, thirty meters or so. But then my father would always catch up and win. The sprinting techniques are very different, and stamina ever over 100m is important. I.E, Bellerin and Walcott could very well be that fast over short distances but will then tire and nu be able to finish the race with the same pace.

Anonymous Physicist

I honestly find that hard to believe, although I guess I’ll have to take your word for it. Was that standing start, or from starting blocks, though? I would guess that footballers could have the edge over 10 or 20 meters from a standing start, but that from blocks (or with free choice, as blocks should be faster anyway) a professional sprinter ought to win. It’s true what you say about stamina though. Not many people realize that in a 100m race, the top speed is achieved somewhere around 60m, as after that tired legs are already slowing a sprinter… Read more »

Walcott's left footed curl

I don’t know whether it was from starting blocks or standing start. But I can imagine it was standing starts since this was in the sixties and I guess that they only raced for fun, since both concentrated on their respective sport once they realised where they had their talents. Or maybe he was referring to them chasing down a ball when the lads were just kicking about, he told me this story quite some time ago 🙂

But as I said, my dad would always win and my estimate of 10-30m was just an estimate.

Mesut O'no

Yeah but my dad can beat your dad!!


Ideally would like Theo to stay with us but it has to be on Arsene’s terms. Because right now we have players who offer much more than Theo in the team. And for all the ridicule those Mancs gave us for signing Welbeck I still think he could turn out to be a very good player for us.


I’m getting the feeling some have let Theo’s contract difficulty let them sway their judgement on his quality, but I can’t help but draw parallels to how we all wanted to run Ramsey off the club after his year-long injury, then when he was fully fit and recovered we saw a very different player.

Hopefully the boss sees differently, and if this season’s struggles can push Theo to get a reasonable deal done, then we see more of the player we saw in the weeks before he got hurt vs. Tottenham next season.

Dick Swiveller

Less of the ‘all wanted to run Ramsey off the club’, they were a vocal minority imo and he got the time he deserved to find his place and Walcott needs to find his place in the current team, where he isn’t the point of a rapier but rather another length along a sizable broadsword; it’s up to him whether he wants to try and do that or chance it elsehwere.

sg gooner

I am not going to be a hypocrite and say only minority of gooner want Ramsey out back in those days….the same applied to theo….a lot of gooners actually want him out the last time round when he was having the contract negotiation…. The difference between then and now was that he was an enigma last time round and has a knack for scoring in the big games despite being wasteful. And I was really supportive of him back then. You could still argue that he is still an enigma as who could truly forgot his 2-0 gesture last year… Read more »

Andy Mack

Of my 20 odd Gooner mates only 1 wanted to get rid of Ramsey.
Oddly he’s the loudest moaner.
3 want Theo out and the rest of us want to keep him but at sensible terms.
As far as I’m concerned, Mr Swiveller is correct.


Hit the nail on the head there, mate. Back before Ramsey came good the howls to get rid of him could be heard around the world. It wasn’t a vocal minority, it was a clear majority. And that majority was ultimately proven wrong.

Walcott has shown that when he’s fit and on form, he’s virtually unstoppable. We should definitely be signing him to a new deal and seeing if he can work his way back into the team.


All I would ask for anyone is go watch Theo Walcotts goals on You Tube. It is the definition of a highlight reel. At this point I am beyond the larger debate (I said from the get go I did not like the clubs public position regarding the contract talks as I found it petty)…if he stays he stays if he doesn’t I hope we get a great fee. However, to suggest he is a spent force is absurd and I think Theo is intelligent enough if he was asked to put more to the defensive side to his game… Read more »

The Only Olivier is Giroud

Can this Kilty bloke do it on a cold Tuesday in Stoke, though?

My favorite football quote, who originally said this haha


I feel sick when I see articles on Arseblog bashing Walcott because of his contract situation. They say Walcott doesn’t offer much on the pitch but the boss wants him to stay. what do these guys know? Walcott will sign a new contract and take back his position!

Anonymous Kumquat

Would love it if Theo stays, I think a lot of fans (myself included) have forgotten how good he was before his injury. Wenger obviously wants him to stay, and if he has any sense he’ll look at the likes of Sagna, Clichy, RVP, Hleb, Song etc who have moved away and regretted it. Let’s wait til he’s back up to match fitness before we make any definitive judgements on whether he’s good enough for this side.


Although it is believed that Wenger only sells garbage to English clubs and only sells quality to Barcelona, he still managed to sell them Song. If he believes Walcott us good so he ain’t going nowhere but if he thinks he is not good then he will go. IMO he is not going anywhere in near future

Andy Mack

He also sold them a damaged Tommy V.


£15m for Hleb, £31m for Fabregas, £16m for Vermaelen, £16m for Song, £25m for Overmars, £7m for Petit, few mill for van Bronckhorst- all pretty much at the perfect time. Henry was another one for who we got good money given the context, though will never say that was the right time, he should’ve retired here. I’ve always thought of Barca as the club who poach our best players but realistically I think all of those transfers combined could be argued to be less useful to the club than Sanchez is/ has been/ will be for us.

ramsey's spirit

All of us have our own opinions on Walcott, on why he isn’t playing, and why he hasn’t yet signed an extension; the simple fact is it’s Arsene who sees him in training, it’s entirely plausible that while medically fit Arsene is not convinced in his ability to perform well, for w.e reason, confidence, training performance personal problems, any number of reasons. I hope he stays, but i”m starting to get a feeling it isn’t the contract keeping him out.

Anonymous Physicist

I would like Walcott to stay, as I think he can have a lot to offer. He may not fit in our team so well right now, but the dynamics of the team can and will change over the course of a season, and he is our only true goalscoring winger. On the other hand, if Walcott doesn’t leave, who does? If we want to improve our team, one or two players will have to leave to make room for new signings. And Podolski or Campbell (or Diaby) leaving isn’t really an answer, as letting people leave who already aren’t… Read more »

Chimichanga Monreal (cuz that's way more fun to say)

I agreed with every word until the last sentence. You really think Walcott is of the same caliber as Ronaldo/Bale/Neymar/Reus? I have to say I don’t rate him that highly.

Anonymous Physicist

That’s not what that sentence says at all. It says that UNLESS we get someone of the quality of Reau/Bale/Neymar/Ronaldo, the player we get won’t necessarily be an improvement. So IF we got one of those it WOULD be an improvement, but if we get some lesser known guy who just had one or two good seasons in Spain or France, it might not be an improvement.

He said unless. .. you have to read the sentence slllloooowwwlllyyy mate. He didn’t say Theo was equal to them although it’s widely accepted that all men are born equal.

Chimichanga IS fun to say…


Hasn’t our other ‘winger’ scored 20 goals already this season?

Anonymous Physicist

True, but Sanchez is a completely different type of player – he’s more of a complete forward, where Walcott is more of an old fashioned wide player, if you will. We might not need someone like Walcott all the time, but it would be a shame to never have a player of his type available.


Does it matter who is faster? All I care is about football performance and attitude

Arsenal's Legend

I just love Theo’s pace i have not seeing those timing in any player in the PL.


Theo is an end product player.He has good pace,movement and finishing.Needs to offer more.I can’t see him staying.I think wenger could well let a few of our forwards leave and buy either sterling or dybala .Sterling’s time at liverpool is over after what their owners did.


I remember seeing original story online and thinking, what?? Then I looked and saw it was the Metro and it all became clear. It was bollix!!

Gooners & Roses

Richard Kilty, please take this form and register yourselves to the cunt club, chairman of course by John Terry. Because challenging people in that manner are just disrespectful.


I’m not familiar with Richard Kilty, but does he always conduct himself like a twat?


I do like Theo, and hope he stays and gets his scoring touch back, but is no-one else frustrated that he doesn’t seem to adapt to his circumstances?

I can’t understand why, when it looks like he’s being frozen out because he doesn’t work hard enough for the team, he doesn’t just work harder for the team. I guess it’s not straightforward to just change your personal style of play, particularly after injury, but surely he must be able to see where he could develop?

Juxta Position

Am I the only one who thinks these comments by a Wenger are a bit empty? I mean he’s not gonna come out and say ‘theo’s knees are crocked and he’s shit I’m gonna sell him this summer.’ I think the fact he has barely played him says everything. I just don’t see where Walcott fits into this team, but of course I could be wrong


On the other hand, wouldn’t it be great if Theo and Hector both put up the 30K quid, then handed this Kilty character a pair of football boots and raced him from one side of the Emirates to the other in a rainstorm? From a standing start? “Any time, any place”, the twat said. Easy 30K for Theo and Hector, or more likely, whatever charity they give the prize money to.


Wouldn’t even be surprised if this did happen for charity now. Good PR material right there.


I think the reason he hasn’t been played is that Wenger lost him for a year and as he doesn’t need to risk him at the moment he’s not going to. As for the contract situation as far as I can tell negotiations haven’t even started yet, when they do I expect we’ll see Theo take an improvement on his 90k because once he’s fit again he’ll be worth every penny. Richard Kitty? unless he can combine his speed with the ability to slip past a couple of defenders and bounce the ball into the net off of Ramsey’s forhead,… Read more »


That guy is only a sprinter because he couldn’t play football. What a dick for challenging them.

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