Theo Walcott: I fell out of love with football at Arsenal

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Theo Walcott says his increasingly sporadic involvement in the Arsenal first team caused him to fall out of love with football a bit, but he’s rekindled that since his £20m move to Everton last January.

The former England international joined the Gunners in 2006, at the time a symbol of what Arsene Wenger wanted to achieve at the club: the development of exciting young talent, but over time injuries hampered that, and although he scored over 100 goals he became something of a poster boy for the decline.

The 29 year old returns to the Emirates on Sunday for the second time since his departure, and he told Sky Sports that it was tough to say goodbye.

“I’m not going to lie, I fell out of love with football for a little bit,” he told former Arsenal Women legend Alex Scott.

“Because I had some good performances, but then just didn’t get the chance to play on.

“Scoring over 100 goals for Arsenal is a great achievement for me personally, and then just the last year-and-a-half was tough, I can’t lie.

“It was really tough, not being able to get into the team, being in and out. I just felt I wanted to get the excitement of football again.

“I didn’t feel like it was going to be at Arsenal then.”

On his previous return, Everton got smashed 5-1, but Walcott believes it will be a different proposition on Sunday.

“It was so surreal, it really was,” he said of facing his former side at home.

“Being at Arsenal for so long, going back, I’d only just left as well. The fans were fantastic with me, they always have been. It just felt like I was a little bit still there, it was so soon.

“But this will be completely different. I’m really excited, I really am. Just to see where we’re at with them.

“I really feel like we’re in a good place.”

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Ex-Priest Tobin

“They just wanted it more”. Cunt.

InTheNorthBank

Oh, do calm down.

Lack of Perspective

relentless negativity is a beautiful beautiful thing….

Patrick

Or an honest assessment of the teams performance?

Old guns

I bet you complain about loyalty all the time. Classic black and white mentality. Theo had some tough times, seemed for a while not to be putting in 100% but he gave us more than a hundred goals and more than ten years. He didn’t agitate for a leave or ever insult the club or fans. So keep your bile for the see you next Tuesdays that deserve it mate.

Gooooonnnaaaaaaaa

No when we needed him most he held the club to ransom, almost ran his contract down, unsettled the squad and earned himself a massive contract, then did fuck all for the rest of his arsenal career. In 10 years he scored just over 100 goals, That’s not a good goal return for an idiot that up until the last year at arsen thought he was a striker. He was a pussy, a spineless, careless pussy. He got chance after chance after chance after chance. Wenger always played him, he always put almost no effort in, once every year or… Read more »

PersonFace

I mean he was right, to be fair. It was a stupid and tactless thing to say, but he probably thought being honest was the best gesture he could make to the fans at that point. A mistake, but does he deserve abuse because of one sentence he said ages ago? Have you never said something stupid you regret? It’s not even that egregious a sentence, like “Screw the jews” or “I’m a cat person”.

Too bad you left the priesthood, I bet you gave some colourful sermons.

Boz

Hard not to like Theo really, another one of the ‘nearly-men.’ Would love to see him bang in the goals for Everton (not on Sunday obviously).

AnonymousGun

Agreed. Not on Sunday of course.. but my main reason is that I have him on my FPL team 😀

Clockendrider

I like him a whole lot more now that he is not taking my money but that of a hubcap stealing bindipper. He was the very essence of style over substance. If he had plated as well as he did PR he would have been President of The Universe by now. But all he did was hide from the ball and take up shit positions week after week. 100 goals in 12 years, so a little over 8 a season. Jog on.

Drew10

Just like to point out that Theo scored 108 goals in 397 games Bergkamp scored 120 in 423 Alan Smith scored 115 in 347 so his return isn’t as bad as you make out is it? Seriously when did we become such a bunch of entitled idiots that a 100 goals for the club player is talked about on such a way.

Merteslacker

Oh Theo…I fell out of love with you after your 2013-14 season…

ChrisM

I guess we never know the full story somewhat but, this irked me a bit “Because I had some good performances, but then just didn’t get the chance to play on.” Not once do I remember thinking “Theo is playing so well at the moment, why on earth is he not playing today?!”. As far as I am concerned Arsenal showed Theo a hell of a lot of patience especially considering he got to pick and choose what is position was. Let’s not ignore the fact that sometimes he was just shit. Not flat out shit, but frustratingly not quite… Read more »

Ivan Drago

Spot on, every time he had a good run he’d unfortunately usually end up injured, otherwise he was very hit and miss. He even said himself he was “consistent in patches”

gooner

Or get overlooked for the more underperforming Ox and even Ramsey and Wilshere when it was still hard getting them a game in CM because Santi was awesome but they still had to play. Somewhere, anywhere, anyhow.

Laca-Sead

Well said Chris Martin. Now go and write us another good song!

HulahoopsBaptista

Wanted to thumbs up for calling him Chris Martin. Wanted to thumbs down for suggesting that Chris Martin is capable of writing a good song. Conflicted…

ChrisM

I can see you’re in Trouble, but Don’t Panic, I’m a Scientist and I will try to Fix You.

Faisal Narrage

Was what one of our Sports Scientists sang to Diaby?

Bob

It also speaks to his mentality really. He’s not getting in the team and instead of working his arse off to make himself unstoppable, he just lost his drive wanted to leave. Says alot.

Simon Ryder

The mid-contract blues!

Pat

Apart from the fact that working his arse off was exactly what he did. He used to get heavily criticised for his finishing, his response was to stay behind after training every day to work on it, he then went on to become our second best finisher behind Van Persie. He also gave his best years to us, if he had stayed and remained on the bench for another year and a half his top flight career would be over. A sensible decision by Theo in my opinion rather than a reflection of his mentality.

John C

Why pick him out for being “not quite good enough” and shown to much patience, when it’s a charge that could be levelled at over a dozen players during the last 10 years of Wenger? At least Walcott produced goals and assists, which is more than can be said of most.

ChrisM

I’m picking him out because he is the focus of this article that I’m reading and commenting on?

I always wanted him to do well and be a “world beater”, but he never was. He was frustrating, more so than any other Arsenal player because you could tell he was capable of so much, but seemed to rarely produce it.

John C

Personally i don’t think he was/is capable of much more, he was/is a hugely effective goal scorer and creator from the wing but not much good at anything else.

Once you accept his failings he’s isn’t frustrating at all

Faisal Narrage

“Once you accept death, it’s not so scary anymore.”

An over exaggeration, but you get the point.

Homer

Ridiculous comment, Faisal. As expected ….

Nameless gunner

I for one still think, we could have played to strengths of our two forwards, Giroud & Theo atleast as a plan B. Especially before the signing of Laca.. instead there was too much indulgence of Ozil & Sanchez… Guess I am blaming our manager here..

Alex

He’ll do like Jack Wilshere showing Arsenal the loss it is to have let him go.

DBMÖ10

Judging from the west ham game , is he too gonna go invisible for the entirety of the game ? Yeah he Jack rubbed the loss right in our face didn’t he

Berlingoon

especially after he got injured again within the first 2 months of the season.

Yankee Gooner

I speak sarcasm.

Goonerfemme

You’re so right, Wilshere is making us cry right now with his scintillating performances at West Ham.

Pedant

Theo had a lot of good assets, speed, confidence, just not enough ball control or good enough as a team player.

Let’s hope Everton get beaten 5-1 again. Or better, let’s win and have a clean sheet.

A Different George

I thought he was fine as a team player. It’s not an accident that Bellerin looked most effective with Theo ahead of him. His main shortcoming, as you say, was his (relatively) poor technical ability and, perhaps also, his lack of physical strength on the ball, which might have mitigated his technical weaknesses.

Kwame Ampadu Down

His main shortcoming (even more than his technical ability) was his lack of game awareness. I never bought the myth that he didn’t track back cos he was lazy : in both an attacking & a defensive sense Theo often didn’t (& still doesn’t) just see things in time like really good players do.
Hia physical strength wasn’t a problem for me.
Great guy, great pro. Just never quite developed enough to be a top player. No hard feelings & no one’s fault.

Goonerfemme

Aye, Theo was fast alright, probably would have been better off in athletics.

Chidi

You won’t be in a good place come sunday.. ?

Bobbyp

To be fair, he was consistent in patches!

Leah's Left Foot

Consistently inconsistent…..

Petit's Handbag

We fell out of love watching you trip up over your own feet/the ball/just gravity.

Theo the friendly ghost

Think you’ve confused him with Gervinho! He would play well now and again but had zero consistency and would get lost in big games.

Think its time to retire this username now.

Matt

Old rent a quote Theo up to his old tricks, still, glad to see him going well at Everton.

Matty Cakes

What a coincidence. I fell out of love with Theo when I saw his latter Arsenal performances

Anthony

Can’t fault him really, and the loosing the love of football for a time, is understandable – he was in and very solid for periods during his last year with us.!But then almost went through a period were nothing went right for him and he was no lway ne’er relied upon. I was sad when he left, felt like it was truly the end of an era. Then to see the boss leave, Wilshere go during the summer, really cemented it. Wish Theo well, don’t mind if he scores against us. Just as long as we’re the winning side, because… Read more »

Russell robb

Walcott making excuses for nor be bothered at us. If he wanted to play every week he need3d to show he could be arsed which he didn’t

Winterburn Wanderers

100 goals for the club and he brought in £20M in when he left.

Formed brilliant partnerships with some players down the years, struggled to gel with others.

More CL goals than fat Ronaldo or Zidane.

Choosing to remember what was good about him at the club, and what’s wrong with that?

Homer

Great comment.

Too many tribal idiot, keyboard warrior, video game football wannabes just wanna piss and moan. Its a shame. Theo put in many great performances for Arsenal. And some not so great ones. Like every footballer who ever lived has done.

Cheers to you, sir.

Clockendrider

Many? Great?

Kwame Ampadu Down

Many ? Great ? Idiot ? D’oh Homer.

Carlo

Boo f’ing hoo

Trez

Say what you want about Theo – the fact is he got sidelined unfairly after scoring 19 goals for the season DESPITE playing sporadically in the second half of the season.
Only Wenger knows why he stopped playing Alexis as a 9 and Theo at RW. That season was so crazy because we ended up wasting 17m on Perez when we could’ve invested that in a move for Mahrez.

Faisal Narrage

It was such an oddball of a season.
Theo RW, Sanches CF, and Ozil 10 brought out the best in all of them.
He bought a striker in Perez, only to surprise us all with Sanchez up front. Then it worked, then he dismantled it even though it brought out the best in Sanchez, Ozil and Theo.

If there was any doubts before that season, that was the one that finalised that Wenger was just winging it. There was just no cohesion or sense of plan to anything.

Chamakhyoungpark

Was a good player on his day. Injuries prevented him getting a really good run in the team and his cruciate injury against Spuds (despite the epic jibe on the stretcher) was the beginning of the end for him. In the last few years when Wenger lost his way, Walcott was one of the main sufferers. BUT, 100 Goals, cheers Walcott.

Sysiphus

You’re right. He was affected by what seemed to happen with Wenger, and he did score 100 goals for us, but I just never saw in him what most others did and he rubbed me the wrong way.

Okay, I hope he only gets nutmegged once.

Sysiphus

When someone says “I’m not going to lie…” and “I can’t lie…” within the same argument I immediately get suspicious.
I never trusted the fucker with the ball, now I just plain want to see him get nutmegged repeatedly throughout the game.

Chrispy

I think a lot of people fell out of love with Arsenal these last few years but weren’t on £150k a week.

punter

i was falling out of love with football with theo at Arsenal..no, seriously.

santori

Even if in context we were facing poor opponents, good to see BOTH Auba and Welbz score. You felt Auba was facing confidence issues and needed to be played in the europa. Also good to see Mhki and Iwobi get playing time as Torreira. Two of those are injury doubts for Everton. I think we will play : …………………………….Laca………………………………… …………..Iwobi…………Ozil………………Ramsey………… …………………Granit………….Guendouzi…………………. Monreal………………………………………………….Bellerin …………………..Sokratis……Mustafi……………………….. ……………………………Cech………………………………… Its either Iwobi or Aubameyang left flank. I feel we may need Iwobi to do a good job against Walcott. He’s strong and has good control can beat his man where Auba has been less able… Read more »

Hustle6

I miss Theo. I don’t even care what the haters say he’s a club legend to me.

100 goals from the wing. Honest good guy on and off the pitch too. A prime example of the culture Wenger brought to the club.

Yeah I know I’m an idiot Wengers shit whatever.

V h

Best moment at Arsenal was on a stretcher with fingers saying 2-0. Great moment but also says it all about his career.

George

He’s always been mentally weak and a bit whiny.

alderweireld science

Theo played “football”?

loose_cannon

Always liked Theo, a much better footballer than he’ll ever get credit for (100 goals from the wing for goodness sake!), a model pro and seemingly a stand up gent. With a few less injuries and more consistency he’d have been one of the best in the world imo, glad he’s simply enjoying himself now though.