Theo Walcott could miss out on Arsenal’s team for the game against Liverpool on Saturday, after failing to impress manager Arsene Wenger with his performance for England against Italy on Tuesday evening.
The Gunners forward was used in the No. 10 role at the head of a midfield diamond in Turin, but the experiment from Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson was widely slammed by critics.
Wenger, who is quoted by the Telegraph, has admitted that he fears for Walcott’s mind-set after the failure, suggesting that his 14 touches in 55 minutes is unlikely to do much for his already faltering confidence.
He said: “Theo’s sensitive and I’m a bit concerned about the damage that game can have on his mind. Being exposed like that, people have a harsh judgement on him that is not deserved. Theo’s strength is the quality of his movements, he wants to go to get on the end of things.
“He’s not a guy who provides. I don’t think it was the intention of Roy Hodgson to play him there. It was maybe Rooney who took the initiative during the game to play higher up and tell Theo to drop back.
“I haven’t seen Roy Hodgson in the game standing up to say: ‘Walcott, you come and play in midfield and Rooney you go up front.’ That’s an initiative they took on the pitch.
“It was a complicated game for the strikers because Italy defended with three centre-backs, two players in front of the two centre-backs and England played all in there so there was no room, no space.”
The 26-year-old missed almost a year with a serious knee injury, and his form has been indifferent since he returned to action. He’s scored just three times in 13 appearances so far this season, with only two of those goals coming in the Premier League.
As a result, he may have to make do with a spot on the bench for the upcoming game with Liverpool, who will be looking to close the six point gap to the Gunners when they travel to North London and the Emirates Stadium tomorrow.