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Key season for Walcott

TESTING TIMES: Theo Walcott faces a pivotal season at Everton

TWELVE YEARS ago, 17-year-old Theo Walcott was the surprise choice in Sven-Goran Eriksson’s 2006 World Cup squad and was regarded as one of the country’s top young footballing talents.

Fast forward to 2018 and Walcott’s England days seem over, with Gareth Southgate choosing to bring through youth into the senior fold, pushing the 29-year-old out of the national team.

Club wise, Walcott has moved to Everton, after falling out of the first team at Arsenal, in an attempt to recapture his form and
find his way back into the England squad.

Part of Walcott’s problem at the Emirates was where his best position was, with the player himself favouring a central striking role, while his pace was seen by Arsene Wenger to be a better fit out wide, where he now seems to have settled for Everton.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a perfect example of how a move away from Arsenal can benefit a player, with his performances for Liverpool before his injury making him seem a certain starter for England.

Walcott’s move to Merseyside, however, has been less successful, and now the former Southampton youth player faces the prospect of dropping onto the Goodison Park bench.

The summer signings of Brazilian pair Richarlison and Bernard, and the return of Ademola Lookman after his loan in Germany, gives Everton boss Marco Silva options outwide and Walcott will need to step up his game if he is to retain a spot in the starting XI.

His performance against Wolves in the first league game of the season was not the start the Englishman would have wanted, being outshone by Richarlison with most of Everton’s play going through the Brazilian on the Toffee’s left flank.

Some diligent defensive work aside, Walcott was quiet throughout the 90 minutes, doing little to suggest he could recapture the form that would turn the head of the watching Southgate.

We’re less than a week into the season, and Walcott could still prove crucial to Everton’s chances as they look to put a difficult 2017/18 behind them and look to challenge towards the top of the table.

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