Theo Walcott deserves praise after superb display against Leicester City

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After becoming England's youngest ever senior player back in 2006, almost a decade later, Theo Walcott has done little to live up to the hype of his early Three Lions days.

Two great performances at Euro 2012 is all the 26-year-old has under his belt for his country, despite having 40 caps under his belt.

An unused substitute at the 2006 World Cup after his big-money move from Southampton to Arsenal had many tipping him for future stardom.


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Unfortunately, Walcott has developed very slowly since then - owed in part to numerous injuries - with his end product drawing the most criticism throughout his career.

Too often have England and Arsenal supporters seen the pacey winger bomb down the channels,  skip past one or two bodies with ease, but then fail to beat the first man with a cross.

However, as much as Walcott has disappointed in recent years and failed to maintain fitness, the Englishman deserves thorough praise after a scintillating display against Leicester City on Saturday.

The Foxes simply couldn't handle him - his raw pace combined with trickery and quick feet caused mayhem behind Leicester's defensive high-line.

Gifting lightning fast, direct and attacking players such as Walcott and hat-trick hero Alexis Sanchez that much space in behind was always asking for trouble, and that's exactly what they got.

After Walcott's well-taken equaliser finished off a brilliant Arsenal counter attack to make it 1-1 before the 20 minute mark, the Gunners went on from there - Sanchez's triple and Olivier Giroud's strike wrapped up the points in what was a showcase of Arsenal's true ability.

After this, Roy Hodgson's smile - already beaming after Harry Kane's return to goalscoring ways against Manchester City - will be ever-growing if Walcott can maintain the form that he's in.

The winger-come-striker displayed the pace, touch, interplay and dribbling that he's always been capable of, and it's a relief to finally see him delivering. His goal against at the King Power Stadium was his third this month.

Arsene Wenger, then, has things to ponder. After playing the winger in his preferred striking role and being rewarded for his faith, the Frenchman faces a decision as to whether he sticks with Walcott, allowing him to grow in confidence and further develop, or reinstate the similarly-criticised Giroud.

The wise option, of course, would be Walcott. To disrupt the speedster's stride would be a naive move by Wenger, and allowing him to flourish could ultimately spell an end to Arsenal's long-standing striking issue.

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