Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger claims he is worried about Theo Walcott following his disastrous performance against England, according to the Telegraph.
Arsenal Transfer News
Arsenal legend admits he was wrong to slate Tottenham man Andros Townsend
Wenger rules out Dybala bid: Five strikers Arsenal could sign instead, including Man United misfit
Walcott was forced into the No.10 role midway through the game, a position he has never played even a minute in before. Wenger is now worried about the player’s mentality, and fears he will suffer as he returns to Arsenal.
“Theo’s sensitive and I’m a bit concerned about the damage that game can have on his mind,” Wenger said.
“Being exposed like that, people have a harsh judgment on him that is not deserved.”
The Frenchman insists that he doesn’t blame Roy Hodgson however, and believes it was Wayne Rooney that made the decision to swap roles.
“I don’t think it was the intention of Roy Hodgson to play him there,” he continued.
“It was maybe Rooney who took the initiative during the game to play higher up and tell Theo to drop back. I haven’t seen Roy Hodgson in the game standing up to say: ‘Walcott, you come and play in midfield and Rooney you go up front.’ That’s an initiative they took on the pitch.”
He was asked if he had ever deployed Walcott in that role, or if he had even seen him play the role in training.
“No [I’ve never seen him play there],” he said.
“Theo’s strength is the quality of his movements, he wants to go to get on the end of things. He’s not a guy who provides.”
The 26-year-old has struggled for first team football since returning from a year out with injury, but Wenger insists he is merely easing the pacy forward back into the flow of things.
It would be a shame to rush him back into action only to see him injured again and having to watch from the sidelines yet again.