Theo Walcott is a central striker (Video)

Theo Walcott made the headlines this week by telling the BBC what he sees as common knowledge, that his unwillingness to sign a new deal was not down to money or at least not solely, but due to a desire to play in his preferred position of central striker, rather than out on the wing where his faults, namely his inconsistent delivery and at times poor technique are brought to the fore.

Walcott, who has been dropped from the Arsenal line up so far this season due to the contract stand-off, then sent showcased his striking ability with two stunning, clinical finishes against Coventry in his side’s 6-1 mauling of the League 1 side in the League Cup on Wednesday night. Asked about Walcott’s ability to play as a striker in the aftermath, manager Arsene Wenger spoke glowingly of the England international’s potential in the position but stressed that competition at the moment was fierce to play there in the Gunners starting line up.

Is it? If Robin Van Persie was still at the Emirates then perhaps Wenger would have a point but the Dutchman has departed and his replacements have either struggled in Olivier Giroud or are played out wide in Lukas Podolski. Indeed, it is currently Gervinho occupying the position. The Ivorian may have impressed at home to Southampton but had a rather less fruitful outing at Manchester City last week. Could Walcott not surely provide at the very least, exactly what Gervinho is providing at the moment in terms of hard-work and good running? There are those who claim that Walcott is too slight to lead the line as a single striker but a lack of physicality does not seem to be hindering Jermain Defoe at Tottenham at the moment? Certainly, one would imagine Walcott being able to finish the chances that Gervinho spurned at the Etihad as the Gunners had to settle for a point that should really have been three.

Walcott’s finishing really does not get the credit it perhaps should. Wayward in his young days, his finishing has now become cool, confident and composed in the manner of a young Michael Owen, as many of his goals last year testify as well as those against Coventry shown in the video below. Walcott is at his best when given balls in behind the defenders for him to run onto and with Santi Cazorla able to conjure defence-splitting passes out of nothing for the Gunners, Walcott will be sure that his runs will be found.

This is not to say that Walcott can become the answer to all of Arsenal’s problems up front; simply that he has shown enough striking pedigree to suggest that he at least deserves a shot at playing in his preferred position for the club.

Adam Mazrani