The following are the views of the author and not necessarily of Goal.com
When Theo Walcott first arrived at Arsenal in January
2006 many compared him to the Gunners’ Gallic legend Thierry Henry. However a
lack of first team opportunities over the past two years has seen the young Englishman
fail to live up to these high expectations. But now that he has inherited the Henry’s
no.14 shirt, it could be just the time for him to step up and fill his idol’s
Both players started their careers as wingers but
neither was prolific in this position, and so both were moulded into strikers
when they joined Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. Henry became a player feared by any
defence once he switched to a striker’s role. Walcott, on the other hand,
hasn't been so daunting to begin with. To be fair though, Wenger has played him
on the wing most of the times so that the youngster can learn how to go past
his man, and learn to track back and help in defence as well. His progress has
been slow but steady, and his performances towards the end of last season have
shown that he can surely become a world-class striker, just like Henry.
Like Henry, Walcott uses blistering pace to run his
way through defences. His run against Liverpool
was reminiscent of Henry's against Tottenham the only difference being that Henry
scored whereas Walcott set up a team mate. This is where Walcott seems to
differ from Henry, the Englishmen doesn't seem to have the eye for goal that
Last season Walcott managed to score 7 goals from 39
appearances, a huge improvement from the season before when he only managed 1
in 32 games. This season is almost going to be make-or-break for him, and he
will really have to improve if he is to manage a respectable goal tally. He
needs to be more selfish in front of goal and have more confidence in his own
ability. He also needs to make his pace count a lot more and needs to get
himself into goal scoring positions in and around the box if he is to score even
half as many as Henry.
he be the next Henry?
When Henry was 19 he
scored 3 goals in 22 games for Monaco.
Compare that to the now 19 year old Walcott and you can see the Englishman is
doing considerably better at this stage of his career. Wenger's guidance was
vital in helping Henry become a world-class player, and Walcott now has the
opportunity to make the most of having this wonderful manager and guide around
him. If he can cement a place in Arsenal's starting 11 and keep building on his
goal tally season by season, with his ability there is no reason why he can't scale the heights the Frenchman has.
At the end of
last season, Theo went up to Henry and asked him to sign his Carling Cup final
jersey, wearing which he had scored his first goal for Arsenal. The striker
duly obliged, and wrote “1 down, 225 to go”. And being so young, maybe someday Walcott
might actually surpass Henry's record of 226 goals for Arsenal, and in the
process become their all-time leading goal scorer.
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