At this present moment, if a club approached Arsenal with a bid – no matter the amount – for Theo Walcott, the vast percentage of Gooners would gladly pay his cab fare, chauffeur him to his chosen destination and even caddy his belongings to the training ground.
If it was a popularity contest, never mind being knocked out in the first round – Theo would be barred from entering.
This now makes him the premier footballing hipster choice.
The footballing hipster is a well known and oft-seen creature – entirely at odds with their predilections. They crave rarity and the lesser seen lights. Chances are, if you have never heard of it, they are huge fans of it.
There are easy ways to spot the footballing hipster. They will be the person clad in an Anorthosis Famagusta jersey, or wrapped in a Tromso scarf. Other ways to discern hipsters from the flock, is to ask them what players they rate currently. If the answer is a player hailing from Ligue Deux and working part time as a Barista – but he has one hell of a shot on him – then that person is a hipster.
They are a harmless bunch, and they are a treasure trove of information. They will stay up into the wee hours to watch a match in Frankfurt, and they will be able to give you the dish on what players would be a great – and cheap – find in the market.
The questioning grunts you give in response to their answers, the quizzical looks you present them with as they wax lyrical about Bulgaria’s latest prodigy – that is music to their ears. They pride themselves on bucking the trend.
Whatever is doing the rounds on social networks, if it spreading like wildfire, you can rest assured that the hipster will shun it. Convention is their enemy.
This is why Theo Walcott has to be the footballing hipster’s favourite player.
Theo is chief scapegoat at Arsenal right now. The season just passed is hardly his first time facing doubts, but it is the first time he hasn’t been able to answer his critics satisfactorily. Instead, he has poured petrol on the critical fire with a string of inept displays that portrayed a chasm in class between he and his team mates.
He made a total of 41 appearances last term. He amassed a paltry total of nine goals. This was more than the campaign before, but he also made twenty more appearances to get those two extra goals. His finishing was hurried. His control was actually painful to watch at times. What happened to the speedster who filled the superstars of Barcelona with fear?
Let us hark back to the first half of last season. Theo Walcott was named ‘Fans Player of the Month’ for September. He registered two assists in the wonderful 3-0 win over Manchester United.
This is the same player who the majority of fans want out of the club.
What hasn’t helped Walcott’s cause, is his persistent claims he wants to play through the middle. He got his chance, and he did reasonably well. If his run continued, rather than being swapped for the flank or the bench, then he may have continued his run of form. However, this was not the case, and when he did take to the field in his sporadic appearances, his confidence was shot.
Walcott has not bagged double figures for Arsenal since 2012/13 – which is indefensible. Which is why this article is attempting to do just that.
The only season where injury hasn’t truly hampered him since 2012, is last season. There can be no veils thrown over how poor he was. He looked like a fish out of water when he took to the pitch from January onwards.
The fact remains though – when Theo is given a run of games in the same position, whether it be on the right or up front – Theo produces.
He has the runs which Ozil craves, he has the speed which makes things happen. What Theo has to do to change the outlook on his career, is to forget his inclination to play centrally.
He needs to go back to where he was one of the most feared players in the Premier League. Alexis Sanchez should be used as evidence, to prove to Theo that a wide position is not to the detriment of involvement or productivity.
It is common knowledge about Theo’s bumper contract. If he is ever to justify to his doubters that he is worth anything remotely like the absurd figure he is being paid, he needs to revert to type.
Use his speed. Use his finishing when on the move. Don’t hesitate, trust your instincts. The moment he stops to second guess himself, that is when catastrophe haunts him.
Theo has a place in this squad, but the stark reality is, he has been at the club since 2006 and he now must show the vast knowledge he has gleaned in training. Not just in fits and bursts either, but he must obtain the most reclusive of all traits – consistency.
In the 2011-12 season, he suffered jeers at the hands of his own fans in the North London Derby, only for him to defiantly and emphatically respond to these taunts by bagging two goals. He has faced negativity before and has sent it packing. He must do so again otherwise, the packing will be all of his belongings.
He will have the hipsters cheering for him, in their spectacles and handlebar moustaches. If he starts to score though, they will soon swarm over another neglected player. Someone who is in the dark and unloved.
Piers Morgan is right up their street….