Arsene Wenger handed the England international an opportunity to impress upfront, dropping Olivier Giroud to the bench, but it backfired on the Gunners’ boss.
Walcott had just 16 touches of the ball during the time he was on the pitch - fewer than any other player involved in the match - and was taken off on the 63rd minute, with Arsenal trailing 2-1, for Giroud.
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Arsenal fans blasted Walcott’s anonymous display at Old Trafford on social media - and former Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas, who now works as a pundit for BBC Sport following his retirement, can completely understand why they were so frustrated with the pacy forward.
Jenas, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, believes Walcott still looks like the raw teenager who arrived at Arsenal from Southampton in 2006.
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Jenas on Walcott
“I was very disappointed with Theo. I think he would look at himself and he would say ‘I’ve had a very poor game today’,” Jenas commented. “He’s been there 10 years. I’m thinking, what is your influence within this team, because when you watch him from the stands, he still seems like that youngster who started a long time ago.
“If you’ve been at a club for so long, I’d expect you to have a bit more of an influence with the players.”
Has Jenas been a bit too harsh?
Although Walcott was poor against United and perhaps hasn’t developed into the player fans hoped he would, Jenas’ comments are arguably a little harsh.
It shouldn’t be forgotten that Walcott scored 21 goals in 43 appearances for Arsenal during the 2012-13 campaign. In the two seasons prior to that, he bagged 13 and 11 goals in all competitions.
The 26-year-old made 27 Premier League appearances in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 campaigns combined due to injury and this, it seems, has hindered his development.
Walcott isn't justifying his £140k-a-week wages
Walcott wants to become Arsenal’s first-choice centre-forward but has struggled to take his chances this season.
Six goals in 30 appearances is a poor return for the Englishman. Giroud, on the other hand, has netted 18 goals in the same number of matches.
Arsenal handed Walcott a new four-year contract last summer, worth an astronomical £140,000-a-week.
Is he justifying his huge wages? Certainly not at the moment - and if his performances fail to improve between now and the end of the season, and Arsenal fail to win a trophy, then questions will inevitably be asked about whether he deserves his place in the squad.
Arsenal fans: should Arsene Wenger sell Theo Walcott this summer? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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