Theo Walcott

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Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott vs Norwich - 13 April 2013.jpg
Walcott playing for Arsenal in 2013
Personal information
Full name Theo James Walcott[1]
Date of birth (1989-03-16) 16 March 1989 (age 25)[1]
Place of birth Stanmore, London, England
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)[2]
Playing position Forward / Winger
Club information
Current team
Arsenal
Number 14
Youth career
1999–2000 Newbury
2000 Swindon Town
2000–2005 Southampton
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2005–2006 Southampton 21 (4)
2006– Arsenal 194 (45)
National team
2004–2005 England U16 4 (0)
2005–2006 England U17 14 (5)
2006 England U19 1 (1)
2006–2010 England U21 21 (6)
2006– England 36 (5)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 04:41, 2 January 2014 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 21:57, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Theo James Walcott (born 16 March 1989) is an English footballer who plays as a forward for Arsenal and the England national team. Walcott won the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year Award in 2006.

Walcott is a product of the Southampton Academy and started his career with Southampton before joining Arsenal for £5 million in 2006. His speedy pace and ball crossing led his manager Arsène Wenger to deploy him on the wing for most of his career. In the 2012-13 season, a contract dispute led him to being played as a striker, before returning in the 2013-14 season playing on the wing once again.[3]

On 30 May 2006, Walcott became England's youngest ever senior football player aged 17 years and 75 days.[4] On 6 September 2008, he made his first competitive start in a World Cup qualifier against Andorra, and in the following match against Croatia on 10 September he opened his senior international goals tally and became the youngest player in history to score a hat-trick for England. He has represented England at the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2012 and has 36 caps, scoring five goals.[5]

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Walcott was born in Stanmore, London,[1] but grew up in Compton, Berkshire. He attended Compton Church of England Primary School and The Downs School, playing football for the local village team and later for Newbury. Walcott scored more than 100 goals in his one and only season for Newbury, before leaving there for Swindon Town.[6] He spent only six months there before leaving for Southampton after he rejected a chance to join Chelsea.[7] Nike agreed to a sponsorship deal with Walcott when he was fourteen years old.[8]

Southampton[edit]

In the 2004–05 season, he starred in the Southampton youth side that reached the final of the FA Youth Cup against Ipswich Town. In addition, he became the youngest person to play in the Southampton reserve team at 15 years and 175 days, when he came off the bench against Watford in September 2004.[9] However, he did not play in the Premier League, as Southampton were relegated to the Football League Championship at the end of the 2004–05 season.[8]

Before the start of the 2005–06 season, Walcott linked up with the first team's tour of Scotland, just two weeks after leaving school. The striker then went on to become the youngest-ever player with the Southampton first team, at 16 years and 143 days, after coming on as a substitute in Southampton's 0–0 draw at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Championship.

Walcott made his full first team debut away to Leeds United on 18 October 2005, scoring his first senior goal in the same game. He scored again away at Millwall four days later, and yet again in his full home debut against Stoke City the following Saturday. His rapid rise to fame also led him to be named amongst the top three finalists for the prestigious BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award on 11 December 2005.

Arsenal[edit]

2005–06 season[edit]

Walcott in 2007

Walcott transferred to Arsenal on 20 January 2006, for a fee of £5 million, rising to £12 million depending on appearances for club and country.[10][11] The original fee was payable by instalments – £5 million down, £5 million based on club appearances and £2 million based on England appearances – but was revised to a total of £9.1 million by a compromise settlement agreed on 31 March 2008.[12] He signed an initial pre-contract agreement to sign a professional contract on his 17th birthday on 16 March 2006, and was given the number 32 shirt in the process.[13]

2006–07 season[edit]

Walcott made his Premier League debut on 19 August 2006, the first day of the 2006–07 season, coming on as a substitute against Aston Villa[14] and setting up a goal for Gilberto Silva.[15]

His Champions League debut came in the second leg of Arsenal's third qualifying round match against Dinamo Zagreb,[16] where Walcott became the youngest ever Arsenal player to appear in European competition, a record previously held by Cesc Fàbregas, and since beaten by Jack Wilshere.[17] Within minutes of coming on, Walcott received his first yellow card in Arsenal colours for taking a shot several seconds after the referee had already blown for offside. During stoppage time, his cross beat the Dinamo defence and Mathieu Flamini scored, giving Walcott a record of two assists in two substitute appearances. His first start came in a home league game against Watford on 14 October 2006.[18] Walcott's exploits with Arsenal and with the England team earned him the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award at the end of 2006.[19]

Walcott warming up with Arsenal in 2007

Walcott's first goal for Arsenal came in the 2007 League Cup Final against Chelsea at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, on 25 February 2007, but his eleventh minute strike was overshadowed by events later on in the match as Didier Drogba scored twice to give Chelsea a 2–1 victory and three players were dismissed following a mass brawl.[20] A persistent shoulder injury limited his performance, and Arsène Wenger even went to the extent of saying that the injury forced Theo to perform up to only 50% of his abilities.[21]

2007–08 season[edit]

Walcott's first home goals of the 2007–08 season were scored in a Champions League match against Slavia Prague, which Arsenal won 7–0, as well as setting up a goal for Fàbregas.[22] Walcott scored his first two Premier league goals in a 2–2 draw against Birmingham City at St. Andrew's on 23 February 2008.[23] He finished the season with seven goals in all competitions and four in the league.[24] In the Champions League quarter-final against Liverpool on 8 April, Walcott made a run from inside his own half down the length of the pitch, beating the Liverpool back four to set up Emmanuel Adebayor's last minute equaliser, however, Arsenal were subsequently beaten 4–2.[25] Later that season, Arsène Wenger claimed that Walcott was finally able to make his shift from a boy, to a man, and shall soon be a monster.[26]

2008–09 season[edit]

Following comparisons to former team-mate Thierry Henry,[22] Walcott was assigned a number 14 shirt, previously worn by Henry.[27] During the 2008–09 season, Walcott established himself as a first team regular, starting many games on the right midfield or winger. In September 2008, Arsène Wenger confirmed that Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Liverpool were all interested in signing Walcott as a 16-year-old.[28] On Saturday 18 October 2008, Walcott scored his first Premier League goal of the season against Everton, scoring the third and final goal in the match, which Arsenal won 3–1 despite going behind to a Leon Osman goal. Three days later, Walcott scored Arsenal's second goal in a 5–2 win away to Fenerbahçe in the Champions League, rounding the goalkeeper before finishing from a tight angle.

On 18 November 2008, Walcott dislocated his right shoulder while training with England for a friendly against Germany.[29] He made a full recovery by April 2009, scoring against Wigan Athletic to equalise before starting the second leg of a Champions League tie against Villarreal, where he scored in the 10th minute after receiving a pass from captain Fàbregas and flicking the ball over the goalkeeper.[30] Arsenal won 4–1 on aggregate.

In the next match, an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea, Walcott put Arsenal ahead in the first half, although they eventually lost 2–1. Three days later, Walcott came off to the bench to run half the length of the field before squaring for Andrei Arshavin to put Arsenal 4–3 up against Liverpool in the 91st minute, although the match finished 4–4.[31] In May 2009 he signed a new long term contract with Arsenal.[32]

2009–10 season[edit]

Walcott during the 2010 Emirates Cup.

Walcott's 2009–10 season was marred by injuries. He suffered from shoulder, back, knee and hamstring problems which restricted him to only 15 starts for Arsenal.[33] He did not complete 90 minutes until 9 December 2009.[34] On 6 March 2010, Walcott scored his second goal of the season against Burnley in a 3–1 victory to give Arsenal a decisive lead, with a left-footed effort from the edge of the box, after cutting inside from the right flank.[34]

Walcott scored the first of two goals for Arsenal in the first leg of the Champions League on 31 March 2010 against FC Barcelona, with team-mate Cesc Fàbregas scoring the second from the penalty spot. After the match he said, "if you look back at the game they had a lot of possession and a 2–2 draw was probably a fair result."[35] Walcott's appearance was the turning point in Arsenal's draw with Barcelona during the first leg of the Champions League. Due to this Arsène Wenger, after much debate, started Walcott for the second leg. His appearance did not reward him with any goals but did however contribute to the set up for Nicklas Bendtner to give Arsenal the lead.

2010–11 season[edit]

Walcott's start to the 2010–11 season was particularly successful, winning EA SPORTS Player of the Month in August by a landslide.[36] On 21 August 2010, Walcott scored the first hat-trick of his club career after he netted three against newly promoted Blackpool in a 6–0 home win, coming in just the second game of the new season.[37] On 27 December 2010, he scored a goal and made an assist to help beat Chelsea 3–1 in a crucial win[38] which, according to manager, Arsène Wenger was a "must-win" game.[39] After an FA Cup third round match against Leeds United on 8 January 2011, Walcott admitted diving in the last minute of the game in an attempt to win a penalty kick. The penalty was not awarded, though Walcott was fouled soon after the dive, winning a legitimate penalty which was converted by Cesc Fàbregas, securing a draw for Arsenal and a replay of the fixture[40] – which Arsenal then won. On 21 February, during the 1–0 victory against Stoke City, Walcott had twisted his leg on the turf which left him with an ankle injury. This ruled him out of the League Cup final[41] and the Champions League knockout phase, second-leg against Barcelona. On the last day of the 2010–11 season, Walcott came off the bench to score the equaliser in a 2–2 draw away to Fulham. He ended the season with a career high of 9 goals in the Premier League and 13 goals in all competitions.

2011–12 season[edit]

Walcott gets away from two Swansea City defenders during the 2011–12 season.

On 16 August, Walcott scored his first goal of the season in the first leg of a Champions League qualifying match against Udinese, giving a vital 1–0 win to Arsenal to carry on into the second leg of the tie.[42] Walcott scored again in the second leg as Arsenal came from behind to win 2–1 and 3–1 on aggregate which helped Arsenal secure qualification for the lucrative group stage of the competition for the 14th straight season.[43] Walcott scored Arsenal's first goal in the 2011–12 Premier League campaign against Manchester United though this was a mere consolation as Arsenal lost 8–2.[44] He netted his fourth goal on 29 October in a 5–3 win at Chelsea where he picked up the ball on the wing, slipped, then got up and jinked past two Chelsea players before scoring.[45]

Walcott scored his first goal of 2012 in the 3–2 defeat at Swansea City, chipping the ball over Swans goalkeeper Michel Vorm.[46] On 4 February 2012, he was involved in the build-up for three goals in the 7–1 home victory against Blackburn Rovers, setting up two goals for Robin van Persie and one for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.[47] On 26 February, Walcott scored two second-half goals against Tottenham Hotspur to help them win 5–2 after being 0–2 down in the North London Derby. On 24 March, Walcott scored Arsenal's second goal in a 3–0 home win over Aston Villa before being substituted by Oxlade-Chamberlain on the 78th minute.[48] An injury in a 0–0 draw with Chelsea on 21 April looked set to rule Walcott out for the rest of the season but he was able to return in a substitute appearance on the last day of the season in a 3–2 win for Arsenal over West Bromwich Albion.

2012–13 season[edit]

Walcott on the ball for Arsenal in August 2012

On 15 September 2012, Walcott came on as a substitute for Gervinho and scored his first goal of the season in a 6–1 win over his former club Southampton.[49] On 26 September, he scored twice in a 6–1 win against Coventry City in the League Cup.[50] On 7 October 2012 Walcott once again found the back of the net in a 3–1 away victory against West Ham United to take his number of goals already up to four.[51] On 30 October 2012, Walcott scored Arsenal's first goal in first half stoppage time and their fourth goal in second half stoppage time in a League Cup tie at Reading to help the club complete a comeback from 4–0 down to 4–4. Arsenal won 7–5 in extra time, in which Walcott completed his hat-trick and backed up his argument that he should be played as a striker.[3] Former Gunner Niall Quinn praised Walcott's performance as incredible, in what he described as "the most extraordinary game that I've seen."[52]

On 6 November, Walcott opened the scoring in the 2–2 draw at Schalke 04 in the Champions League.[53] On 17 November, Walcott scored the fifth goal in a repeat of the previous season's 5–2 win over Tottenham.[54] On 29 December, Walcott was deployed as a lone striker and scored his first Premier League hat-trick of the season and provided two assists in an emphatic 7–3 win over Newcastle United.[55][56]

On 18 January 2013, Walcott ended speculation about his future when he signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract with Arsenal.[57] Two days later Walcott scored Arsenal's only goal in a 2–1 defeat to Chelsea.[58] This started a run of four successive games in which he scored, with Walcott also scoring in a 5–1 win against West Ham United on 23 January,[59] a 3–2 win against Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Cup[60] and a 2–2 draw at home to Liverpool.[61] He scored the opening goal after just 2 minutes in a 1–1 draw against Manchester United.[62] He then scored his 20th goal of the season against Queens Park Rangers after just 20 seconds. The match ended 1–0 and Walcott's goal became the fastest goal of the Premier League that season.[63] Walcott scored another goal in a 4–1 victory over Wigan Athletic which resulted in Wigan's relegation.[64] Walcott finished the season with 12 goals and 12 assists from 24 Premier League games.[65]

2013–14 season[edit]

Walcott celebrating with team-mates and fans at a parade after winning the FA Cup.

Walcott started the 2013–14 campaign in good form, scoring against Olympique de Marseille in the group stage of the Champions League and registering assists against Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, as well as Fenerbahçe in Champions League qualifying.[66][67] His run of form came to a halt after he suffered an abdominal injury in late August.[68] Walcott was forced to undergo surgery and therefore missed two months of the season before returning to action against his former club Southampton in late November. He then appeared as a late substitute in Arsenal's next four fixtures, assisting goals against Cardiff City and Everton.

Walcott started his first game since returning from injury against Manchester City on 14 December. He scored twice against City, but could not prevent Arsenal from losing the match 6–3.[69] On 26 December, he scored twice against West Ham United, including his first ever headed goal. On 4 January 2014, Walcott sustained a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee during a FA Cup match against Tottenham Hotspur and was ruled out for six months, therefore forcing him to miss the rest of the season and the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[70][71]

International career[edit]

2006 World Cup[edit]

On 8 May 2006, Walcott was surpisingly named in Sven-Göran Eriksson's squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup,[72] despite having only made 13 appearances in senior football and none in the Premier League.[73] Even with first-choice strikers Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen both recovering from injury, Walcott was selected over established Premier League strikers Darren Bent (the highest-scoring English forward in the Premier League in the 2005–06 season), Andrew Johnson (the top English goalscorer in the Premier League in the 2004–05 season), Dean Ashton (like Bent, already an established player at England Under-21 level) and Jermain Defoe.[73] On 25 May 2006, Walcott came on as a second half substitute for the England B team against Belarus. On 30 May 2006, he became England's youngest ever senior player by appearing in a 3–1 friendly win over Hungary at Old Trafford aged 17 years and 75 days. Despite being one of only two fully fit strikers in the England squad (the other being Peter Crouch), he did not play during the tournament. Eriksson defended his decision,[74] claiming that the experience would serve Walcott well for future tournaments.

After the World Cup, Eriksson stepped down as England manager. New appointment Steve McClaren put Walcott into the England Under-21s, claiming he was "toughening up" on his squad selections.[75]

2007 and 2009 Under-21 European Championships[edit]

On 15 August 2006, Walcott became the youngest player ever to score for the England under-21 team when he scored the opener after three minutes in England's 2–2 draw with Moldova at Ipswich Town's ground Portman Road. The game against Moldova was his first cap for the England Under-21s.[75]

Walcott scored two goals against Germany to seal qualification for England to the Under-21 European Championship, in the playoff second leg in October 2006, with his second drawing comparisons with Thierry Henry.[76] Over the summer of 2009, Walcott participated in England Under-21 team's European Championship campaign despite protestations from his club manager, Arsène Wenger. Wenger complained that Walcott's participation in the tournament as well as matches with the senior squad would lead to burn out and injury.[77]

2010 World Cup Qualification and omission from Finals[edit]

On 6 September 2008, Walcott made his first competitive start in a World Cup qualifier against Andorra, and in the following match against Croatia on 10 September he opened his senior international goals tally and became the youngest player in history to score a hat-trick for England.[78]

Walcott returned to the international fold on 3 March 2010 in a friendly against Egypt. It was his first international start for nine months.[79] He faded after a bright start[80] and was replaced by Shaun Wright-Phillips after 57 minutes as England recovered from a goal down to beat Egypt 3–1 at Wembley. His performance came under heavy criticism from Chris Waddle who said of Walcott, "I've never seen him develop. He just doesn't understand the game for me – where to be running, when to run inside a full back, when to just play a one-two. It's all off the cuff. I just don't think he's got a football brain and he's going to have problems. Let's be honest, good defenders would catch him offside every time."[79]

Walcott started England's friendly victories against Mexico and Japan in May 2010. However, on 1 June 2010, it was announced that Walcott had been left out of England's 23-man World Cup squad by Fabio Capello.[81] On 4 July, a few days after England's exit from the World Cup, Lionel Messi said that he was shocked by Walcott's exclusion as he believed that Walcott could have made the difference against Germany and Algeria.[82] In January 2011, Capello admitted that he had made a mistake in not selecting Walcott for the 2010 World Cup.[83]

Euro 2012[edit]

In the Euro 2012 qualifying match against Switzerland on 7 September, Walcott was stretchered off after he was clipped in the build-up to Wayne Rooney's opener for England after 10 minutes[84] putting him out of action for several weeks.[85]

At UEFA Euro 2012, Walcott appeared for England as a second half substitute in the group game against Sweden. Shortly after coming on, Walcott scored to bring the game level at 2–2. Less than 15 minutes later, he provided the cross for Danny Welbeck's 74th minute winner in England's 3–2 victory.[86] Afterwards, England manager Roy Hodgson praised Walcott's "enormous" impact on the game, while Lee Dixon on the BBC said Walcott had "changed the game".[87][88] Walcott also played in the final group game against Ukraine which England won 1–0.

2014 World Cup Qualifying[edit]

Walcott started in England's 5–0 win against San Marino, but was injured in an early clash with the goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini. After treatment on the Wembley touchline, he was substituted for Aaron Lennon, and then taken to hospital as a precaution, where he underwent "scans and tests" according to England manager Roy Hodgson,[89] Walcott was later ruled out of England's next game against Poland, he didn't start a game in the qualifiers until almost a year later on 6 September, when he played the full 90 minutes in the 4–0 win against Moldova, he also played 87 minutes in the following game against Ukraine, which ended in a 0–0 draw, but he was injured before England's game against Montenegro and he was still out against Poland, which England won 2–0 to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, in Brazil.

Style of play[edit]

Walcott is well known for his blistering pace,[90] with former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola declaring that "you would need a pistol to stop him."[91] He has been likened by Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger to the club's all time leading scorer, Thierry Henry.[92] FIFA World Player of the Year winner Lionel Messi has described Walcott as "one of the most dangerous players I have ever played against.".[93] In addition to his speed, Walcott also possesses good balance, movement and technique.[94]

Sponsorship[edit]

When Walcott was 14 years old, he signed a sponsorship deal with American sportswear and equipment supplier, Nike.[8] In November 2012 he appeared in an advert for the new Nike Green Speed II alongside Eden Hazard, Raheem Sterling, Stephan El Shaarawy, Mario Götze and Christian Eriksen.[95][96]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

Statistics accurate as of 5 January 2014[97][98]
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Southampton 2005–06 21 4 1 1 1 0 23 5
Total 21 4 1 1 1 0 23 5
Arsenal 2005–06 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2006–07 16 0 4 0 6 1 6 0 32 1
2007–08 25 4 1 0 4 1 9 2 39 7
2008–09 22 2 3 1 0 0 10 3 35 6
2009–10 23 3 1 0 0 0 6 1 30 4
2010–11 28 9 1 0 4 2 5 2 38 13
2011–12 35 8 3 1 0 0 8 2 46 11
2012–13 32 14 4 1 2 5 5 1 43 21
2013–14 13 5 1 0 0 0 4 1 18 6
Total 194 45 18 3 16 9 53 12 281 69
Career total 215 49 19 4 17 9 53 12 304 74

International[edit]

England national team
Year Apps Goals
2006 1 0
2007 0 0
2008 5 3
2009 2 0
2010 7 0
2011 6 0
2012 9 1
2013 6 1
Total 36 5

As of 10 September 2013.

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list England's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1 10 September 2008 Maksimir Stadium, Zagreb, Croatia 4  Croatia 1–0 4–1 2010 World Cup qualifier
2 2–1
3 4–1
4 15 June 2012 Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex, Kiev, Ukraine 26  Sweden 2–2 3–2 Euro 2012
5 14 August 2013 Wembley Stadium, London, England 34  Scotland 1–1 3–2 Friendly

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Southampton
Arsenal

International[edit]

England

Individual[edit]

Books[edit]

Walcott currently has four published books – "T.J. and the Hat-Trick", "T.J. and the Penalty", "T.J. and the Winning Goal" and "T.J. and the Cup Run". The first two were published in April 2010, with the latter two being published in August 2010. All four were published by Corgi Children's.[99]

In August 2011, Walcott's auto-biography Theo: Growing Up Fast was published by Bantam Press.[100] The book caused controversy because of his criticism of England manager Fabio Capello, whom he describes as "cold and clinical".[101]

Family and personal life[edit]

Theo's aunt Yvonne Walcott with her husband David Yates.

Walcott was born to a black British Jamaican father and a white English mother.[102] His family made a cameo appearance in the 2007 film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, directed by David Yates, the partner of Walcott's aunt.[103][104] Walcott himself was due to appear as well, but his commitments to Arsenal forced him to drop out.[105]

Walcott grew up as a Liverpool fan due to his father's support of Liverpool. When Chelsea asked him to be a ball boy, he used the opportunity to meet his Liverpool idols:

"I was playing in a tournament for Swindon when Southampton and Chelsea showed an interest. Chelsea invited me to be a ball-boy for a game against Liverpool and it was fantastic to meet my heroes Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler. I was a Liverpool fan simply because my dad followed them. Unfortunately I wasn't born when the team had their golden era, but I enjoyed watching the likes of Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman when I was growing up. When Liverpool won the Champions League last year,[106] I went mad. I was shouting so loud I think I woke up the entire village where I live!"[107]

His cousin Jacob Walcott was a trainee at Reading[108] and a member of the England national under-17 football team appearing in the 2009 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship.[109] His older sister, Hollie, is a bodybuilder who came second in the British Natural Bodybuilding Federation Central Championships in July 2010.[110]

Walcott has been involved with the UK charities Build a School[111] and Best Beginnings.[112]

On 6 April 2008, Walcott was a torchbearer for the Olympic Flame for Beijing 2008 as it was paraded around London. He was the second last torchbearer just before Dame Kelly Holmes.

Walcott has been in a long-term relationship with Melanie Slade, after meeting in 2004 at the WestQuay shopping centre in Southampton.[113] The couple married at the Castello di Vincigliata in Tuscany, Italy, in June 2013.[114] Their son Finley James Walcott was born on 10 April 2014.[115]

References[edit]

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