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Time for Walcott to come good on his early England promise

| 04.09.2013

The pressure of performing at the highest level is nothing new for Arsenal’s Theo Walcott, though with a host of senior attacking options sidelined for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Moldova, the time to answer England’s call is now.

The decision to take the then 17-year-old Walcott to World Cup 2006 ended up being a misguided gamble by Sven-Goran Eriksson, but seven years and 34 England caps later and at the age of 24, even the player himself would admit his promise remains largely unfulfilled.

Of course he could point to that famous night in Zagreb where Walcott scored one of the more memorable Three Lions hat-tricks against Croatia, however, those three goals remain half of his sum total in an England shirt.

Arsenal’s wide man is handsomely priced at 5/1 to draw first blood against Moldova, while he’s not so generously housed at at 10/11 to notch anytime, in what should be a convincing England victory.

Part of the problem used to be pinned on his deployment out wide for Arsenal, rather than down the middle, though with Walcott returning his best ever tally of 21 goals in all competitions for the Gunners last season, this argument just doesn’t stick now.

Furthermore, Roy Hodgson’s own preference to play with the exact replica of that formation for England now too, with Walcott on the right of it, means there is nowhere to hide anymore.

Ahead of these vital World Cup qualifiers Hodgson has now lost Wayne Rooney through injury, Andy Carroll is also crocked and man of the moment Daniel Sturridge is still a doubt, making Walcott one of the most senior attackers in the side.

Walcott has started well again for his club side this season and even opened the scoring for his country in the recent prestige friendly over Scotland, using his trademark electric pace to get away from defenders and can exploit Moldova in the same way.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.