If ever a quote summed up the malaise at Arsenal FC, it is Theo Walcott’s assertions to England manager Gareth Southgate that he should be in the England squad because he is “one of the leading goalscorers in the league”.
Southgate called the Arsenal striker to let him know that he had been left out of Southgate’s squad for the friendly with Germany and the World Cup qualifier against Lithuania and Southgate confirmed that Walcott was not impressed with the decision:
‘He wasn’t chuffed to bits to get the call and I understand that,’ Southgate said. ‘I don’t expect him to be pleased.
‘He argued his case. Quite rightly, he said, “I’m one of the leading goalscorers in the league”.
‘I don’t mind being challenged at all. I totally respect that.
‘But I’ve got to make decisions and it was the right thing to call him to talk that through, even though doing it on his birthday probably wasn’t great.’
Walcott, has quietly scored 17 goals for Arsenal in all competitions this season, including eight in the Premier League. But when Arsenal fans are looking for someone to step up and score, they look towards Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud. Walcott, who are 28 has flattered to deceive his whole career, is maybe the Gunners third best striker at best.
He has managed only eight goals in 47 games for England, and three of them came against Croatia in 2008 and two came against San Marino in 2015. Take them out, and Walcott has managed only 3 goals for England in 45 appearances, a goal scoring ratio that is simply not good enough.
England play Germany in Berlin on March 22 before hosting Lithuania at Wembley on March 26.
FULL ENGLAND SQUAD TO PLAY GERMANY AND LITHUANIA
Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster, Joe Hart, Tom Heaton
Defenders: Ryan Bertrand, Gary Cahill, Nathaniel Clyne, Phil Jones, Michael Keane, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling, John Stones, Kyle Walker
Midfielders: Dele Alli, Michail Antonio, Ross Barkley, Eric Dier, Adam Lallana, Jesse Lingard, Jake Livermore, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Nathan Redmond, Raheem Sterling, James Ward-Prowse
Strikers: Jermain Defoe, Marcus Rashford, Jamie Vardy