Theo Walcott was heavily criticised by Arsenal fans following his disappointing performances during Arsenal's 3-2 defeat to Manchester United on Sunday
Walcott offered very little going forward and gave the ball away the build-up to United’s second goal during his 63 minutes on the pitch.
The England international has played 30 matches this campaign, scoring just six times and has become a bit of a scapegoat amongst Gooners for his less than impressive form.
The Gunners signed Walcott as a 16-year-old after showing signs of promise for Southampton in the Championship.
He went on to become England’s youngest ever senior player just after his 17th birthday but ten years since signing for Arsene Wenger’s side, he’s struggled massively to fulfil his incredible potential.
Club is to blame
He is yet to nail down a regular position, with Wenger seemingly still unsure whether to use him as a winger or a striker.
But club legend Ian Wright doesn’t think Walcott has let the club down but, in fact, Arsenal have let him down.
“It’s unfortunate Theo’s getting the stick he’s getting because I believe he’s been let down by the club in respect of his progression,” he said on SunSport’s podcast.
“He’s someone they could really have brought on. Ten years on he looks the same. He could really have gone on and learned that trade and done a lot better.”
Fast track to nowhere
Wright believes that Walcott is now getting found out because he was never coached intensely as a teenager. The former striker feels that because the England international was fast-tracked into senior football, he missed out on vital footballing education.
"Before you know what’s happening he’s at Southampton, before he knows what’s happening he’s in the first team and before you know what else is happening he’s gone to Arsenal," Wright said.
“He’s gone with England to the World Cup and everything has just gone BANG...fast track. You don’t see the time in his progression where he’s going to actually stop, learn a position...this is what you do in this position if you play up front you have to make these moves.”
Rashford vs. Walcott
Walcott’s Arsenal were undone by 18-year-old Marcus Rashford at Old Trafford, who was making his first Premier League appearance for Manchester United.
Rashford scored twice to give the home side a 2-0 lead and Wright compared his movement to that of Walcott’s.
“Some of the movements and runs he [Walcott] was making - or lack of it - were really evident and quite astonishing to see. When you look at Rashford’s movement, naturally he looks like someone who obviously wanted to play for United a long time ago. He’s come from nowhere but his movement as a striker is evident for everyone to see,” he said.
Unsurprisingly, Walcott’s performance saw plenty of angry comments hurled at him from Arsenal fans on social media, but Wright insists the winger doesn’t deserve them.
“It’s unfortunate Theo’s getting the stick he’s getting because I believe he’s been let down by the club in respect of his progression.
“I don’t think the stick he’s getting is totally fair because of the way he’s been and the way it’s been for Arsenal. But he could really have gone on and learned that trade and done a lot better,” he concluded.
Arsenal fans: Do you think Theo Walcott has been let down by your club? Let us know in the comments box below!