Everton go to the Emirates on Saturday looking for their first ever win at Arsenal’s home, and will have a new weapon in their armoury - Theo Walcott joined the Blues during the January transfer window after finding himself increasingly sidelined this season by Arsene Wenger.
Speaking during his pre-match press conference, Toffees manager Sam Allardyce commended Walcott for his professionalism, claiming that the Blues were able to secure him as cheaply as they did because of his good behaviour despite not starting single Premier League game this season.
“I think a lot of negotiation was done by Theo. Because of his service to the club and the fact he would accept what Arsene was doing, he is not a troublesome player who would throw the toys out of the pram.
“That respect between him and the club resulted in the move. There are no easy negotiations with Arsenal, believe you me, but eventually the negotiations got to where we did and the insistence for the first time ever from Theo that he wanted to leave, plus the respect they have for each other and the service he gave, probably was a factor.
“A lot of things have been said about Theo – he hasn’t reached his full potential and all that – but I don’t know how you could say that after last season’s performance with 30-plus games and 19 goals. I think if he’d have been playing a lot this year he would have been happy to finish his career at Arsenal.
“This time around, because he wasn’t getting his game time, he looked at his career and decided he had to leave. He chose us and hopefully he can be a key player for us.”
Walcott has already scored twice and picked up one assist in the two games he’s played so far, and Allardyce challenged him to continue that streak.
“The more he plays like he did against Leicester the more the fans will appreciate him. And when you’re appreciated and supported and praised as a footballer it makes you feel good and more confident. You can’t wait to get out there and upset other teams.
“He’s started well and we hope he continues that until the end of the season and for the next three or four seasons that he’s here.
“But the challenge for Theo in going to a new club, is showing everybody who you are and what you are as a footballer, and proving you live up to and better the reputation you have.”
The forward was always commended on his class by the Gunners fans, and so far the Blues have not seen anything to make them think otherwise, and indeed can’t wait to see the relationship down the right with Seamus Coleman continue to develop.
Alright @everton fans, last call for mailbag questions! Theo and Seamus look like two peas in a pod and we now have a left sided centerback. What questions do you NEED answered?? Everything goes! #Everton #evertonFC @RBMersey pic.twitter.com/AEsgG3zsD8— Brian Foley (@foleysthoughts) February 1, 2018