Theo Walcott has received an awful lot of criticism during his career - and not all of it has been deserved.
The lightning-quick winger, who joined Arsenal from Southampton as a highly-rated 16-year-old back in 2006, has often been accused - even by his own team’s fans on numerous occasions - of lacking what is often described as a ‘football brain’.
But although his footballing intelligence can be questioned, he possesses many other attributes that top clubs value highly, such as his frightening pace and composure in front of goal.
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Sure, Walcott doesn’t always choose the best option, but he knows how to finish when he gets inside the penalty area.
During the 2012-13 campaign, it looked as if Walcott was about to kick on and become a truly top forward. In 43 appearances in all competitions, the former Saints starlet bagged an impressive 21 goals.
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But then Walcott suffered a couple of serious injuries, which undoubtedly set him back, and it’s taken a long time for him to rediscover his confidence.
Walcott has rediscovered his confidence
But he has finally regained that lost confidence, as he demonstrated again against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
While Arsenal fans can accuse Walcott of many things, they can’t say he doesn’t try during matches.
He was excellent during the first half against Carlo Ancelotti’s side and broke the deadlock in the 20th minute with a fierce strike which embarrassed Manuel Neuer.
Walcott surpasses two legends for Champions League goals
Not only did that goal take Walcott’s tally to 15 (in 26 matches) for the season, but it also put him above two bonafide football legends in terms of Champions League goals.
Zinedine Zidane and the Brazilian Ronaldo, two of the greatest footballers of all time, scored 14 goals in Europe’s premier club competition during their illustrious careers.
Walcott now has 15 to his name.
It’s safe to say this stat has shocked a few people…
Walcott also has more CL goals than this lot...
Furthermore, Walcott now has more Champions League goals to his name than former Gunners Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg, plus the likes of Carlos Tevez, Dimitar Berbatov and Roy Keane.
Fair play, Theo. That’s genuinely impressive.
Arsenal out of the Champions League for another season
However, he’ll need to wait until next season - provided Arsenal finish inside the top four - in order to increase his Champions League goals tally.
Arsene Wenger’s side crashed out of the tournament following their humiliating 5-1 home defeat (10-2 on aggregate) at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday evening.
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