Theo Walcott found himself watching his team from the bench as an unused substitute in Arsenal's 4-1 win against Liverpool.
With talk in the media increasing about problems with the renewal of his Arsenal contract growing stronger in recent times Walcott is finding himself in an awkward position at the club.
Much was expected of the player when he made the move from Southampton to north London in 2006 at the age of 16. He became England's youngest ever full international when he lined up against Hungary aged 17 years and 75 days. He has shown glimpses of the talent he possesses scoring some important goals for Arsenal and seeing himself feature consistently for England.
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He has had previous history with "unsuccessful" contract talks in the past. However this was at a time when he was a mainstay in the starting 11 and many fans felt that the club couldn't afford to lose him to another club and needed to meet his demands and keep him at the club.
He does not have the same leverage this time around for a new contract as the Gunners have strengthened in the wide and central areas with the acquisition of Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck from Man United. This has pushed Walcott down the pecking order and currently struggling to make an impact after returning from yet another spell on the sideline injured.
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Improved over recent years
In an Arsenal team that was often accused of lacking pace going forward in recent seasons Walcott seemed to be a shoe in when fit to make an impact with his lightning-quick pace and movement.
Often criticised for his lack of "end product" he produced his best form in the 2012/13 season scoring a highly commendable 21 goals in all competitions. However as mentioned previously the Gunners have had players to their front line and both have pace to burn and are proving to be a success at the club scoring goals and creating assists with Alexis Sanchez potentially being the signing of the season.
He has spent a lot of time out of the side injured but has always seemingly come back into the team when fully fit. However this does not look to be the case at the moment with the latest game against Liverpool as an unused substitute.
Should Walcott stay?
Many would have thought being 3-0 ahead Arsene Wenger would have given him some game time and a chance to run at a fairly slow Liverpool defence but the French manager opted to bring on Danny Welbeck instead and Walcott was left to watch from the bench.
This season Walcott has made 13 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal (starting 5 and being brought on in 8) and scored 3 goals. After his recent injury he returned to the side and scored in his first game back, this looked to be a turning point in his season and a return to the side but the game time has yet to materialise for him.
He was also criticised in the recent England game against Lithuania where he started in his preferred striking role but failed to make an impact. He was later moved into the number 10 position but again failed to make any real impact before being substituted.
What do you think? Does he deserve a new contract? Should he be in the starting 11? Leave your views in the comments box below.
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