Former England and Newcastle winger Chris Waddle is not a fan of Arsenal winger Theo Walcott.
Theo Walcott – cut by Fabio Capello yesterday
He’s been a critic of the 21 year old Arsenal winger before, and said back in March that he didn’t think Theo fully understood the game of football.
Of course Theo was the only real surprise omission from the final England squad of 23 announced yesterday afternoon by England’s Italian manager Fabio Capello.
Waddle told the Evening Chronicle today – when reminded of those comments:
“I’ll still stand by them.” “He’s had a long time at Arsenal, he’s playing with fantastic players, a lot of young players around his age group. He’s never nailed his shirt at Arsenal.”
“I’ve got nothing against the lad. I just think it’s no surprise for me he’s not on the plane.” “I look and I just think he doesn’t seem to understand the game.”
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp was surprised at Walcott’s omission, and Harry told BBC Radio Five Live yesterday:
“I thought Aaron was a certainty, I thought Theo was a certainty,” “I thought both of them would go.”
“I’m surprised Theo’s not going.” “He’s had a bit of an indifferent season with injuries but he’s a good player.”
And World Cup hat-trick hero of the 1966 final for England, Sir Geoff Hurst – wasn’t surprised by Walcott’s omission from the squad:
“It doesn’t surprise me that he wasn’t included,” “The reason he hasn’t been included is because of his lack of consistency of performance.”
What the news was yesterday was that Theo didn’t follow his manager’s instructions in the last two internationals. Capello had asked him to stay out wide on the right, and take the ball on the outside of the defenders to give England’s attack some width.
But Theo continually came inside and narrowed England’s attack. Fabio, like any good manager, wants his players to follow his instructions, and if they don’t then watch out. There was also news that Theo had not looked particularly impressive during the England training.
The surprise inclusion over Theo was Shawn Wright-Phillips of Manchester City – but give Shawn some credit – when he came on against Japan on Sunday in the second half, he had an urgency about him and ran at the Japan defense.
Obviously that was what Capello had asked of the player – and Shawn did the job for England and they got the win after looking completely hopeless in that first half.
We don’t think Theo will be missed in South Africa, and at least he’s already been in one England World Cup squad, having been the surprise selection of Sven Eriksson’s squad in 2006 in Germany, when he was just 17.