Theo Walcott: Destined for disappointment?

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Football News

Theo Walcott's performance during England's gruelling draw with Ukraine on Tuesday did little to dispel the assertion that his much feted career is destined to fizzle out into disappointment, rather than flourish into a genuinely great one.

The Arsenal player has the ability to frustrate like no other, particularly on international duty, and the meeting with Ukraine highlighted the sometimes mind-boggling ineptitude that should have been eradicated from his game by now.

It is unclear who lacks confidence the most when Walcott picks up the ball: the player himself or the spectators urging him to offer something decisive while in possession.

Twice against Ukraine the 24-year-old had the opportunity to lead England into goalscoring territory but indecision and dreadful execution led to chances wasted when the visitors had a numerical advantage pressing forward.

The second such example, when Walcott found the heels of Rickie Lambert rather than showing his own heels to the defender, was beverage spewingly infuriating, but an all too familiar story for a player who shows little sign of progression.

Walcott so often demonstrates a glimpse that he is capable of greatness for both Arsenal and England, but these brief instances never result in sustained quality. He is a perennial leg barer, but is never willing to lower his stockings the entire way.

It was five years on Tuesday since Walcott outlined his potential with a high-class hat-trick in Zagreb, teasing the metaphorical cock of his country in the process. But, 32 caps later, he has scored only twice more, and England awaits satisfaction.

Arsenal have enough faith in Walcott coming good to tie him to a lucrative contract - after much wrangling last season - and his club form has been far more reflective of the player they hoped to have signed in 2006.

But, visit the Emirates Stadium, and Walcott still attracts the ire of the Arsenal fans unlike most of his teammates, with many understandably tired of his consistently inconsistent performances.

With every misplaced pass or inexplicable decision, the shackles of expectation on Walcott are loosened, as those who harboured so much hope consider abandoning the faith they have demonstrated over the seasons.

Where there is life there is hope, however, and Walcott still has enough time ahead of him to not just provide glimpses, but a full look at the talent he has to offer. Over 20 goals for Arsenal last season is certainly a good platform on which to build.

Walcott is an undeniable talent, but the question remains whether he will ever be more than just that. The raw materials are available, but he appears to be worryingly devoid of the mental fortitude to exact the best out of them.

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England Football
Theo Walcott

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