Theo Walcott

Theo Walcott | Arsenal & England Wonderkid

Theo Walcott has big role to play

Theo Walcott made his return to the fold in Arsenal colours after a month on the sidelines with a twenty-six minute cameo appearance against Sunderland that should hopefully put him on the road to full fitness.

The England international has endured his fair share of injuries in recent years, with the calf strain picked up in the shock 3-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup being the latest setback in Walcott’s career. However, he has shown he has the ability to bounce back on more than one occasion, and at the age of twenty-six, there is still plenty of years ahead of Walcott to put his injury problems behind him and make a real impact for club and country.

It is the former who currently need him the most, as although have highlighted the fact that numerous bookmakers have made Arsenal favourites for the Premier League title, Arsene Wenger faces a growing injury list which includes some of his most important players. Walcott himself has recently returned from a spell on the sidelines, but with Alexis Sanchez’s hamstring injury and Santi Cazorla out until next March, it leaves Arsenal thin on the ground.

Fingers could be pointed at Wenger for failing to add strength in numbers during the summer, especially when Arsenal tend to endure a number of injuries through misfortune, overexertion or general wear and tear during every campaign, but Walcott’s return to action could be the boost that the Gunners need moving forward through the hectic Christmas period and beyond.

Injuries to Sanchez and Cazorla are undoubtedly a big blow for Arsenal, but Walcott’s return could see him slot straight back into the fold to provide the pace and directness that enable the team to remain on the front foot. He may face a battle for a place in the team with close friend Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who will feel he deserves a chance to shine; they may, however, both start against Aston Villa this coming Sunday, with Joel Campbell struggling to impress.

Walcott could make the difference against a team marooned at the bottom of the table, but with Arsenal having a number of players ruled out, it may be best to read more before the kick-off to decide whether the Gunners should be backed through to pick up all three points. Victory at Villa Park would enable Arsenal to keep up with surprise pacesetters Leicester and remain in contention to end their twelve-year wait for a Premier League title which would be the first in Walcott’s career.

Wenger and the fans will have to be patient with Walcott and not expect too much from him so soon after a calf injury. Easing him back into the fold would be the preferred method of choice, but with so many midfielders and wide strikers ruled out through injury, Walcott might be thrown into action against Aston Villa. There is no question that the 26-year-old could have a big part to play for Arsenal between now and the rest of the season, particularly if the team are hit with yet more injuries.

Walcott will naturally have one eye on Euro 2016 next summer where fans may look to back England through William Hill Free Bets, but he will have to remain injury-free and play a consistent number of games if he is to remain in Roy Hodgson’s thoughts. However, performing for his club is undoubtedly the most important thing for Walcott right now, and if he recaptures the excellent form he enjoyed at the start of the season before his latest injury setback, then Arsenal have every chance of fulfilling their title favourites tag and finishing top of the league in May.