Arsenal FC manager Arsene Wenger is confident that Theo Walcott can live up to the club’s faith in his abilities as a central striker, following the decision to not sign another one.
Wenger came under heavy criticism from the Arsenal fans, for his reluctance to sign a central striker in the summer, and instead, choosing to play Olivier Giroud or Theo Walcott as his forwards.
Wenger backs Walcott for central striking role
Backing the England international to succeed in the central role, Wenger was quoted as saying by ESPN FC:
“I believe he can be a central striker.
“But at the start of the season, I faced questions from everybody: ‘Why don’t you buy a central striker?’ So sometimes you have to have strong beliefs and show the players as well that you believe in them in that position.
“I always said that he will play through the middle and he got his knee injury when he played well through the middle against Tottenham. It took him a while to come back, I must say.
“But now in the last two games, the last few games, he looks always dangerous in this position. The quality of his movement is outstanding and he has found his finishing again. Now against Man United he has also found his commitment back.”
Henry comparison not a problem for Walcott
There have been some comparisons between Walcott and Henry, right from the early days of the former Southampton player, at Arsenal.
Asked to give his take on the comparisons, Wenger said: “You cannot stop that. I believe that it can be positive as well. One of the important things at a young level, when people are children, is to identify the model of the guys, give a model to compare who looks similar and to copy a little bit the guy who has similar qualities and what he does. It wasn’t negative, but Theo played longer on the flank.
“Let’s not forget how our strikers developed well here. Thierry Henry arrived here and he had not scored goals before and scored plenty here. There are very few examples of players who left us and scored more elsewhere than here. We know how to develop strikers quite well.
“Maybe he can score more goals to chances. He gets a lot of chances, but the finishing is a bit up and down. But what you want from Theo is the commitment he showed against Man United in the challenges. If he adds that to his game then he will be difficult to stop.”
Arsene Wenger may think that Walcott will eventually adapt as a central forward. However, the ambition (or lack of it) showed by the club, is the main bone of contention for the Gunners’ fans.
The fact that the club, despite having the funds, is not spending the money and minimising the risk they are taking, by not having more than one regular recognized forward, is something that has been irking the fans.
Arsene Wenger should try and help Walcott prosper in the role, no doubt, but not at the cost of risking the club’s prospects of winning the Premier League.