Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has admitted that Theo Walcott hasn’t developed into the player that many expected he would be by now.
The former Southampton starlet celebrated 10 years at the club in January, but the club’s longest-serving player has failed to live up to expectations and develop into a key player for Wenger.
With the likes of Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud and Alex Iwobi favoured over him in the starting line-up in recent weeks, it remains to be seen where the England international’s future lies.
Although the pressure is certainly on him to perform consistently, it is highly unlikely that Wenger will put his stubbornness and faith in his player to the side and allow him to leave this summer.
“Not as well as you could have expected,” Wenger told reporters on Friday, as noted by ESPN FC. “He had good periods in the season. I think recently he has gone through a much more difficult period. But he will come back.”
“He works very hard, he puts the effort in in training. At the moment, for him and Giroud it’s a bit more difficult, but that’s part of the competition,” Wenger said. “He understands that as well, and he fights very hard. But in our job things can change quickly from one week to the next.”
Since arriving at the club in 2005, Walcott has managed to get into double scoring figures in the Premier League in a single season on just one occasion in 2012/13.
Whether it’s playing on the right flank or through the middle, given his importance to the squad over the years that is simply not good enough for a player of his talent with the pace and finishing ability that he possesses.
As mentioned above, it is highly unlikely that a situation will present itself where Wenger will sell him given his continued faith in him over the years.
However, there must come a point where either the Frenchman or Walcott himself accepts that perhaps a change in surroundings could be the best solution for all concerned.