Thursday, February 29, 2024

Theo Walcott announces retirement from football

Theo Walcott has confirmed his retirement from football at the age of 34.

In total, he made 564 appearances for Southampton, Arsenal and Everton scoring 129 goals. He also netted eight times for England for whom he played 47 times.

The winger shot to prominence in 2005 as a 16-year-old when he became the youngest player to feature for Southampton and he became the subject of national interest when Arsene Wenger signed him the following January and then persuaded Sven Goran Eriksen to take him to the 2006 World Cup even though he’d not made his Arsenal debut.

Unsurprisingly, Walcott didn’t feature for England in Germany but eyebrows were raised when he missed out on the 2010 tournament, especially as he’d scored a hat-trick against Croatia in qualifying. In the end, his only appearance at a major tournament was at Euro 2012 where England were knocked out by Italy on penalties in the quarter-finals.

Walcott made his Arsenal debut on the opening day of the 2006/07 season, coming off the bench to tee up a Gilberto Silva goal as the Gunners snatched a 1-1 draw in their first competitive game at Emirates Stadium.

Six months later, he scored his first goal for the club in the League Cup final, breaking the deadlock against Chelsea who regrettably recovered to win 2-1. Theo’s strike was the first of 108 for the Gunners; a creditable total for a player who predominantly featured out wide despite flirtations as a central striker.

Blessed with searing pace, Walcott developed a knack for breaking through defensive lines and scoring Henry-esque curlers from the left and low drives across the keeper from the right. There were plenty of chances missed along the way, which often frustrated supporters who were so keen to see him live up to his potential. To be fair, he also registered 80 assists, striking up very fruitful relationships with the likes of Robin van Persie, Emmanuel Adebayor and Olivier Giroud.

In many respects, Theo was the perfect embodiment of Arsenal during his 12-year tenure; there were plenty of magic moments (his performances against Barcelona, that run at Anfield, memorable hat-tricks against Newcastle and Reading, goals against Sp*rs) but not quite enough substance to live at the top consistently.

Theo was injured when Arsenal ended a nine-year trophy drought by beating Hull City in the FA Cup final in 2014, but he did get to experience success at Wembley the following year when he opened the scoring in the final as the Gunners eased past Aston Villa 4-0. He was also an unused substitute in the 2017 final when Arsene Wenger’s team beat Chelsea 2-1.

Walcott left for Everton in January 2018 in a deal worth around £20 million and made 85 appearances for the Toffees across three seasons. He then closed things out with a second spell at Southampton for whom he scored his final professional goal against Arsenal.

While it’s hard to label that strike, which put the Saints 2-0 up, as a killer blow to Arsenal’s hopes, it didn’t exactly help our cause!

He said afterwards: “My son’s going to be really disappointed that I didn’t celebrate but I just couldn’t. It was a very indifferent day for me today, I felt like I couldn’t win.”

Once a Gunner, always a Gunner…as they say.

No doubt, the club will invite Theo back in the near future for the chance to renew acquaintances with the supporters.

Speaking about the decision to retire, he told the Overlap podcast: “It’s scary because football’s all I’ve known from the age of 16 or even younger. I want to try new things I never experienced as a kid – I missed out on a lot. I just feel like I want to experience life – things [usually] revolve around football for me.”

We wish him all the best for the future.

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loose_cannon

I think the 2010 world cup was in South Africa, the 2006 one was in Germany. As for Walcott, he was always one of my favourite players, if not my favourite, and seriously underrated inside and outside the fanbase. I think many people kept seeing him for what he could be instead of just enjoying what he was. Ultimately he’s had a fantastic career that he can be proud of, all the best to him and his family!

P.D.

I don’t think he was underrated to be honest. After from a few nutters at both ends of the spectrum (‘Walcott is shit’, ‘Walcott is amazing’) most knew what he was : a good player, capable of moments of brilliance, but just not quite at the top level. And aside from that he always came across as a really good pro & a genuinely nice guy too. Good luck to him. (I will always remember Arsene confirming a verbal agreement on a new deal when Theo’s contract was nearly out one time. Not many footballers I would guess you could… Read more »

Heavenly Chapecoense

That run at Liverpool leading to Adebayor’s goal was probably one of the top 10 assist in football history even top 5.
Other players say he was too predictable but this is probably because of lack of ability to dribble. That creativity wasn’t there. Crazy Goran Eriksson destroyed the worldclass career he could have had with that selection to the national team.

C.B.

5th highest scorer for Arsenal in the PL.

Riku

397 games – 80 goals* Theo 6th on the list of goal scoring wingers in premier League.

247- 85 hazard
Mane
Sterling 220- 106
Giggs 632 -109 goals
Salah most goals
*Only Arsenal goals
Theo totaled over hundred goals for Arsenal

Emi Rates

I was just thinking about him this morning wondering if he had retired or was going to. I guess this answers my question.

Thank you for all the good times, Theo! Thank you and all the best for the future!

Emi Rates

Adding to that, i’ll always remember Theo sticking three fingers up with a big cheeky smile at the Spuds fans as he was stretchered off when we beat them 3-0 at their gaff.

Gooner7190

Wasn’t that 2015 at our place in the FA Cup? Anyway I think it’s quite fitting that his last professional goal came against us in April. Fully expect to see more of him transition into MOTD & Super Sunday now

Emi Rates

I recall it was at WHL but i could be wrong. I’m sure it was three fingers symbolising the goals we’d scored but in spirit it was two fingers right back at the Spuds fans cheering him being stretchered off.

A Different George

I remember it as two fingers for two-nil. It’s interesting that one of us (I genuinely don’t know which) could have a vivid memory which is wrong.

Greenbeetle

I recall eleven fingers that left trails…

Emi Rates

Here’s an article about the occasion. You’re right it was two goals. The Spuds fans pelted him with coins for it.

https://www.givemesport.com/1813250-theo-walcott-tottenham-fans-lost-it-after-arsenal-icon-mocked-them-during-game-in-2014/

Qwaliteee

It was two fingers at the Emirates.

Ebo

So exciting to watch on his better days, it always felt like he was just on the verge of becoming that top notch player his tantalising talent suggested he could be. Still ended up having a fair bit of good moments for us, wish him even better times ahead.

PGunner

Enjoy your life Theo, I recommend raving and a cheeky pill if you wanna focus on things you missed out on in your youth.

Will always remember you fondly for your goals v Spuds.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Maybe it is the time to give up on the hair style he’s had the last 2 or 3 years. Jeez, Theo is supposed to look like a handsome nice boy, lol. Does it have anything to do with Everton? Because Iwobi has a similar hair style.
But I love Theo, like I said in a post above, his run at Liverpool slaloming through opposition on the entire field to assist Adebayor was one of my best Arsenal moments. I still go back and watch the video.

Arsenalfanthem

I’m sure you didn’t mean anything by it, but just so you’re aware, implying a Black man should cut his hair to look like a ‘nice boy’ has very questionable connotations. Peace.

JazzyJeff

Some aCid too if you can get the real Hoffman deal.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

2 – Nil.
Enough said

Bill Hall

Respect that he hasn’t sold his soul to go play for silly money in the middle East!

Norwegian Wood

That’s a reedeeculous take.

Okester

Theo gave us some decent moments during his career, but I’ll always remember him most fondly for one of my favourite quotes – “I’ve been consistent in patches”.
Enjoy retirement dude!

Wengerball

Perfect embodiment of an Arsenal player..Good on the field, always put in 100% but also a great professional and a decent man with good values. Thank you Walcott, and good luck on retirement.

Ps. Thank you for NOT signing da ‘ting in Saudi Arabia!

Fatgooner

For me, he epitomised the second half of the Wenger years, when we were bang average and just making up the numbers.

Even at his best he wouldn’t get in the Invincibles side, and he wouldn’t get in this current side.

He wasn’t rubbish; he was just average.

89 again

Even if this was true today wouldnt be the day to say it.

Fatgooner

I suppose you’re right: let’s just ignore reality.

Chris Waddle was right about Walcott – and he WAS a great winger.

Qwaliteee

Now you are taking the piss Fats.

Waddle a great winger?! 😂😂😂😂😂

Aside from putting England’s Semi Final penalty on the moon, he won the total sum of FUCK ALL medals.

Fatgooner

Ok, I’ll give you that, Q.

BTW: that penalty did NOT reach the moon. It’s still in orbit.

Qwaliteee

With Harry Kane’s.

😂 👍 🍺 🍺

89 again

All im saying is one person scored 100+ goals for the Arsenal and provided entertainment to millions. The other posted a mean spirited comment on the internet because he thought it might be the last chance to get a dig in. Reality.

Riku

Enjoyed waddies performances for Sheffield Wednesday when we beat them in both cup finals that year 🏆🏆
Theo won the fa cup

Ozzie

Why? It’s not as if he’s suffered some career ending tragedy, he’s just decided to stop playing.

Badaab

Fats, if you don’t enjoy this, why are you here- is it just to stir the pot?

Rob67

‘He wasn’t rubbish; he was just average.’ In fairness he was better than merely average. I’ve seen plenty of players in an Arsenal shirt who were not as good. But he was neatly summarised by the former Gooner Editor, Kevin Whitcher who described the period after we moved the The Emirates as ‘The Walcott Years’. Plenty of hype. Plenty of promise. But no end product as far as trophies went. And Fats is right – he would have been lucky to get on the bench for the 04 side. In one respect, I feel sorry for him because he was… Read more »

Hi-brid

Not consistently brilliant, but well above average, I would say.

Heavenly Chapecoense
Riku

Walcott and Arshavin and podolski main weaknesses they never tracked back . Mix ed with Wenger average c.m. like Francis c. This Put so much pressure on the defence . Gibbs was never good enough . And a bunch of average keepers .

Ozzie

I’m agreeing with Fatso for once. Walcott was decent, but got lucky. 2 years earlier or 2 yrs later he wouldn’t have got near the first team.
A 16 yr old in the world cup squad gets anyone excited, but would you choose him over Pepe if they were the same age?

Badaab

Enjoy the time off, Theo. May you enjoy lots of fancy coffees and write a few dozen more kids books (oh and probably spend some time with the family)

Onenil

Did you see that ludicrous display last night?
What was Wenger thinking, sending on Walcott that early??

SarcasmB0t

You know, Arsenal always try to walk it in.

Theenge

To be fair, he made more than one epic runs at Anfield; the one in which he set up adebayor in the champions league, and second one for Arshavin’s fourth in the league

Hi-brid

Frustrating habit of running the ball out of play, but an excellent finisher on his day and scored lots of goals for us at a time when we weren’t very good. Far more positives than negatives with the benefit of hindsight and the “2-0” from a stretcher right in front of their supporters took some balls and will live long in the memory. Once a Gooner… Happy Retirement Theo! (P.S. wish I could have retired at 34…)

Collibosher

“Pure… young… English… class!”

Der32

Sign da ting Theo! This ol’ phrase made me chuckle. Have a happy and fruitful retirement Theo. He was a class player on his day and scored many iconic goals over the year!

assistantref

A really good footballer and and, by all accounts, a really decent man. It’s amazing he has his head screwed on as well as it appears to be when you consider how much he was hyped up and then unfairly criticized for “failing” to deliver on that hype.

Heavenly Chapecoense

It was really the case the year Wenger put him ahead of Giroud to start as a CF. He started well and after 6 or 8 games, he wasn’t mentally ready to do what he’s been asking for the previous years and wanted back on the wing. One of the Arsenal players, I genuinely like.

Qwaliteee

All the best, Theo.

Thanks for some great memories, those wonderful goals against Spurs and Chelsea in particular and of course the opening goal in the 2015 FA Cup Final.

Your two fingered gesture to the Spurs fans cemented your name in Gooner folklore forever.

Once a Gooner; always a Gooner.

RockyRog58

Good luck in the future Theo & thanks for all you did ! One of us always will be !

Foggy

Theo was in absolutely electric form before his 2014 injury. His sheer pace made a crowded penalty box seem actually quite full of space. I was gutted that he had to miss the World Cup that year – he should have gone in 2010 too, I’m sure he’d have been a star in 2014 were it not for injuries

SarcasmB0t

He was the future once. I’ll admit that I could never really get over him not going for that 50-50 in that Sunderland game – although if I’m being honest, I never really considered it a “50-50.” I didn’t expect him to win it, really, just to put his body on the line to show how much he cared. I thought it represented – he represented – everything wrong with late-stage Wenger. Of course, he HAD put his body on the line, that’s why he had all those injuries. I was an idiot. So what he wasn’t the dominant superstar… Read more »

Gunnar Elí

Always a smile

Been a pleasure Theo
What a ride

Arsenalfanthem

12 years at Arsenal, that’s incredible. Surely we’ll give him a testimonial, if clubs even do that anymore?

Jas

The spuds got bale. We got Theo. I will always picture him as a 16yr old looking kid. He just never seemed to age
A very nice boy, as Arsene would say
Just frustrating because we thought he would fly higher
Still scary to hear he’s retired

shokim

All the best in your retirement, Theo. 🫶

Arsepedant

I always liked Theo, right from the start, and he has indelibly etched a number of amazing Arsenal moments on my mind: the brilliant third goal of his hat trick against Newcastle tripping over the ball against Chelsea, then getting up to continue on running and score becoming the only player in English cup history (any cup) to score a hat trick with all three goals coming in different periods of added time at the end of a half or extra time his goal against Sutton in the 2017 FA Cup (I was there!) that wonderful, cheeky little 2-0 sign… Read more »

ljundbergsPinkMohawk

did he ever get his coffee maker?

mach iii

Problem was he had no killer instinct, he was too regimented, he couldn’t take the initiative and enter into the unknown where the magic happens. The risks, the world where Messi, Maradona, Pele live.. and there can be a million reasons why.

Not everyone is born to be great; and Walcotts sin is that he was very good, and fans could see his potential in physicality for greatness; but the mental hurdles are too much to bear.

Give the lad a break, enjoy retirement Walcott.

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