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Theo James Walcott (born 16 March 1989) is an English footballer who plays as a right winger for Arsenal and the England national team.

Club career

Early career

Walcott was born in Stanmoremarker, Greater Londonmarker, but grew up in the small village of Compton near Newburymarker, where he played for A.F.C. Newbury and went to The Downs Schoolmarker secondary school. Walcott scored more than 100 goals in his one and only season for Newbury, before leaving there for Swindon Town and later for Southampton. Nikemarker agreed to a sponsorship deal with Walcott when he was fourteen years old.

Southampton

In the 2004–05 season, he starred in the Southampton youth side that reached the final of the FA Youth Cup against Ipswich Town. In addition, he became the youngest person to play in the Southampton reserve team at 15 years and 175 days, when he came off the bench against Watford in September 2004. However, he did not play in the Premier League, as Southampton were relegated to the Championship at the end of the 2004–05 season.

Before the start of the 2005–06 season, Walcott linked up with the first team's tour of Scotlandmarker, just two weeks after leaving school. The striker then went on to become the youngest-ever player to play for the Southampton first team at 16 years and 143 days, after coming on as a substitute in Southampton's 0–0 draw at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Football League Championship.

Walcott made his full first team début away to Leeds United on 18 October 2005, scoring his first senior goal in the same game. He scored again away at Millwall four days later, and yet again in his full home debut against Stoke City the following Saturday. His rapid rise to fame also led him to be named amongst the top three finalists for the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year Young Personality award on 11 December 2005.

Before breaking into the Southampton first team, Walcott's massive potential was showcased in the 2005 MATCH Annual. His performances soon attracted attention from the British media, who saw him as one of the most promising young English talents of his time. Following intense speculation that Walcott would move to the Premier League and media reports linking him with some of the league's top clubs including Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton eventually caved and accepted a bid from Arsenal for Walcott.

Arsenal

Walcott in 2007
Walcott transferred to Arsenal on 20 January 2006, for a fee of £5 million, rising to £12 million depending on appearances for club and country, at the time this was a record fee for a teenager. He signed a pre-contract agreement to sign a professional contract on his 17th birthday on 16 March 2006, and was given the number 32 shirt in the process.

Following his surprise and controversial selection in the England squad for the World Cup 2006, he made his Premier League début on 19 August 2006, the first day of the 2006–07 season, coming on as a substitute against Aston Villa and setting up a goal for Gilberto Silva.

A Champions League début came in the second leg of Arsenal's third qualifying round match against Dinamo Zagreb, where Walcott became the youngest ever Arsenal player to appear in European competition, a record previously held by Cesc Fàbregas, and since beaten by Jack Wilshere. Within minutes of coming on he received his first yellow card in Arsenal colours for taking a shot several seconds after the referee had already blown for offside. During stoppage time his cross beat the Dinamo defence and Mathieu Flamini scored, giving Walcott a record of two assists in two substitute appearances. His first start came in a home league game against Watford on 14 October 2006. Walcott's exploits with Arsenal and with the England team earned him the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award at the end of 2006.

Walcott warming up with Arsenal
Walcott's first goal for Arsenal came in the 2007 League Cup Final against Chelsea at the Millennium Stadiummarker, Cardiffmarker, on 25 February 2007, but his eleventh minute strike was overshadowed by events later on in the match as Didier Drogba scored twice to give Chelsea a 2–1 victory and three players were dismissed following a mass brawl.

Walcott's first home goals were scored in a Champions League match against Slavia Prague, which Arsenal won 7–0, as well as setting up a goal for Fàbregas. Walcott scored his first two Premier league goals in a 2–2 draw against Birmingham City at St. Andrewsmarker on 23 February 2008. He finished the 2007–08 season with seven goals from all competitions. In the Champions League quarterfinal against Liverpool on 8 April, Walcott made a run from inside his own half down the length of the pitch, beating the Liverpool back four to set up Emmanuel Adebayor's last minute equalizer.

Following comparisons to former team-mate Thierry Henry, Walcott was assigned Henry's former number 14 for the 2008–09 season. During the season, Walcott established himself as a first team regular, starting many games on the right midfield or winger. In September 2008, Arsène Wenger confirmed that Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool were all interested in signing Walcott. On Saturday 18 October 2008, Walcott scored his first Premier League goal of the season against Everton, scoring the third and final goal in the match, which Arsenal won 3–1 despite going behind to a Leon Osman goal. Three days later, Walcott scored Arsenal's second goal in a 5–2 win away to Fenerbahçemarker, rounding the keeper before tucking the ball away from a tight angle.

On 18 November 2008, Walcott dislocated his right shoulder while training with England for a friendly against Germany. He made a full recovery by April 2009, scoring against Wigan to equalise before starting the second leg tie against Villarreal, where he scored in the 10th minute after receiving a pass from captain Fàbregas and flicking the ball over the goalkeeper. Arsenal won 4–1 on aggregate.

In the next match, an FA Cup Semi-Final against Chelsea, Walcott put Arsenal ahead in the first half, although they eventually lost 2–1. Three days later, Walcott came off to the bench to run half the length of the field before squaring for Andrei Arshavin to put Arsenal 4–3 up against Liverpool in the 91st minute, although the match finished 4–4. Recently he signed a new contract, reported to last four years.

International career

Walcott was a surprise inclusion in Sven-Göran Eriksson's preliminary England squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, announced on 8 May 2006. Even with first-choice strikers Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen both recovering from injury, Walcott was selected over established Premier League strikers such as Darren Bent (the highest-scoring English forward in the Premier League in the 2005–06 season), Andy Johnson (the top English goalscorer in the Premier League in the 2004–05 season), Dean Ashton (like Bent, already an established player at England Under-21 level) and England squad regular Jermain Defoe.

Walcott came on as a second half substitute on 25 May 2006 for the England B team against Belarus. On 30 May 2006, he became the youngest ever England player in a full international by appearing in England's friendly against Hungary at Old Traffordmarker, aged 17 years and 75 days. England won the match 3–1.

Despite being one of only two fully fit strikers in the England squad, he did not play during the tournament. Eriksson defended his decision, claiming that the experience has served him well for future tournaments.

Following the end of the World Cup tournament, Eriksson left his position as England manager. New appointment Steve McClaren, put Walcott into the England Under-21s, claiming he was "toughening up" on his squad selections.

On 15 August 2006, Walcott became the youngest player ever to score for the England national Under-21 football team when he scored the opener after three minutes in England's 2–2 draw with Moldovamarker at Ipswich Town's ground Portman Roadmarker. The game against Moldova was his first cap for the England Under-21s.

Walcott scored two goals against Germany to seal qualification for England to the Under-21 European Championships, in the playoff second leg in October 2006, with his second drawing comparisons with Thierry Henry.

On 6 September 2008, Walcott made his first competitive start in a World Cup qualifier against Andorra, and in the following match against Croatia on 10 September he opened his senior international goals tally and became the youngest player in history to score a hat-trick for England.

Over the summer of 2009, Walcott participated in England Under-21 team's European Cup campaign despite protestations from his club manager, Arsene Wenger. Wenger complained that Walcott's participation in the tournament as well as matches with the senior squad would lead to burn out and injury.

International goals

Scores and results list. England's goal tally first.


Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 10 September 2008 Maksimir Stadiummarker, Zagrebmarker, Croatiamarker 1–0 4–1 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying
2. 10 September 2008 Maksimir Stadiummarker, Zagrebmarker, Croatiamarker 2–0 4–1 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying
3. 10 September 2008 Maksimir Stadiummarker, Zagrebmarker, Croatiamarker 4–1 4–1 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying


Family and personal life

Walcott was born to a Jamaicanmarker father and an English mother. His family made a cameo appearance in the 2007 film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Theo himself was due to appear as well, but his commitments to Arsenal forced him to drop out.

Walcott and his father are both Liverpool fans. Walcott has never hidden the fact that he's a massive Liverpool supporter and even when Chelsea laid out the red carpet for him as a youngster, he used the opportunity to meet his real idols:
"I was playing in a tournament for Swindon when Southampton and Chelsea showed an interest.
Chelsea invited me to be a ball-boy for a game against Liverpool and it was fantastic to meet my heroes Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler.
I was a Liverpool fan simply because my dad followed them.
Unfortunately I wasn't born when the team had their golden era, but I enjoyed watching the likes of Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman when I was growing up.
When Liverpool won the Champions League last year, I went mad.
I was shouting so loud I think I woke up the entire village where I live!"


Theo Walcott has been involved with the UK charities Build a School and Best Beginnings.

On 6 April 2008, Walcott was a torchbearer for the Olympic Flame for Beijing 2008 as it was paraded around London. He was the second last torchbearer just before Dame Kelly Holmes.

He is in a long-term relationship with Melanie Slade. The couple got together after meeting in 2006 at the WestQuaymarker shopping centre in Southampton.

His cousin Jacob Walcott is a trainee at Reading and a member of the England national under-17 football team appearing in the 2009 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship.

Club career statistics

(correct as of 21 November 2009)
Club Season League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists
Southampton 2005–06 21 4 1 2 1 1 - - - 23 5 2
Arsenal
2005–06 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2006–07 16 0 3 10 1 2 6 0 2 32 1 7
2007–08 25 4 2 5 1 0 9 2 3 39 7 5
2008–09 22 2 2 3 1 0 10 3 1 35 6 3
2009–10 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1 0
Career Total !87 11 8 20 4 3 25 5 6 132 20 17


Honours

Club

Southampton
Runner-up:

Arsenal
Runner-up:

International

England U21
Runner-up:

Individual



References

External links




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