Theo Walcott is an attacking midfielder who played for England national side and Arsenal in the English Premier League. Walcott’s pace and clinical finishing from a young age led to great things being expected of him – he was the second most expensive teenager when he signed for Arsenal for £13m. After some time adapting to the speed of the Premier League, Walcott is establishing himself as a key player for both the Gunners and England.
Theo Walcott was born on 16th March 1989 in Newbury, England. His youth team football has been well documented. Walcott smashed in over 100 goals for Newbury FC in his only season at the club before joining Swindon and then Southampton, aged 13. He became one of the youngest players to be sponsored by Nike when they started providing all his team kit at the age of just 14.
Theo Walcott has always been ahead of his time – he was playing against players considerably older than him as he progressed through the youth ranks, and at 15 was a member of the Southampton side that finished as runners-up in the FA Youth Cup. He was in the reserves soon after, and set a new record when he came on for Southampton on his debut aged 16 years and 153 days old.
Walcott was making such an impression that he was nominated for the BBC Young Personality of the Year in 2005, losing out to athlete Harry Aikines. All this attention, prompted by some electric performances and four goals in 10 games, caused the big clubs to review their transfer policies – with Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United all reportedly interested.
Walcott signed for Arsenal in January 2006, for a fee that rises to £13m. Theo Walcott chose to be managed by Arsenal legend Arsene Wenger, who had already proved that he was good at getting the best out of youngsters. Despite not playing a single game for Arsenal for the rest of the season, Walcott had made enough of an impact at Southampton to receive an international call-up on May 30th 2006, making Theo the youngest player to represent England at 17 years and 71 days.
Walcott’s spectacular rise to fame saw him play for England ahead of Arsenal, and he was even included in England’s 23 man squad for the Germany 2006 World Cup.
At Arsenal, Walcott has been patient, appreciating the fact that he is competing against the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie. He starred in the ‘Carling Cup Kids’ teams over the next few seasons, but staked a claim for a place in the team following the departures Pires, Gilberto Silva and Freddie Ljungberg.
Theo Walcott has won more rave reviews for his England performances than for his club football. Whilst Walcott has been well looked after by U21 manager Stuart Pearce, he has consistently been called up to the full England team, by three different managers. Sven Goran Eriksson gave him his first call up in May 2006, and then caused national outrage when Walcott was selected for the World Cup as Sven’s wildcard player.
Walcott established himself in the first-team, ahead of David Beckham and David Bentley, with a stunning hatrick away against Croatia in August 2008.