Dec 29, 2012, 6:40 PM EDT
Didn’t we all do a proverbial double-take when Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger began making comparisons between his dynamic young attacker Theo Walcott and Thierry Henry?
What he said was that the young England international has the look of a young Henry.
But didn’t we all wonder if Wenger had been nipping at the old French cooking wine with this little analogy? Didn’t we wonder if he was getting just a little on in years, starting to come up one winger short of a full 4-3-3, if you know what I mean?
To be perfectly fair, Wenger was speaking about where he once deployed a young, developing Henry. More accustomed to playing on the wing, Wenger began stationing Henry in the middle.
That’s what is happening now with Walcott, who has been positioned lately at striker rather than out wide. It was really a ploy to get Walcott on the field, to itentify ways to keep him passing, trapping and shooting, to keep him happy as a North Sea clam and the man re-signed at the Emirates. Walcott’s deal is up this summer, but Wenger is clearly doing all he can to keep the young England man.
It looked like the manager might just be blowing a little wind up Walcott’s soccer shorts with those flattering Henry comparisons:
“I always said that one day he would play through the middle and it grew in his brain. He is now 23, and I decided to play Thierry Henry at 23 through the middle because you have to learn a lot before.
“The fact that you play in other positions helps your technique. On the wing you need a shorter technique against the line but once you play in the middle you can go on both sides. From 19 to 23, Theo has learned a lot. Now we will sometimes play him on the flanks, sometimes through the middle, but I like what I have seen through the middle. The signs are good, it’s an interesting challenge for him but I think he can take it on.”
Of course, Wenger is looking like a genius now. Walcott’s hat trick today didn’t just lead the way for an unforgettable day around the Emirates (in a 7-3 victory over Newcastle). It improved Walcott’s scoring leadership for Gunners; he is not at 14 goals for Arsenal this year.
Jul 27, 2015, 9:45 PM EDT
The Premier League’s big boys each play once more in the USA before heading back to England for the start of the new season.
Jul 27, 2015, 8:39 PM EDT
Afellay makes four ex-Blaugranas on the books at Stoke, where Mark Hughes is aiming for European qualification.
Jul 27, 2015, 7:56 PM EDT
As Bayern chase their fourth straight Bundesliga title (it would be a first), Mats Hummels says the league’s other teams need to stop fearing them.
Jul 27, 2015, 6:06 PM EDT
Drogba has arrived in MLS, and he even got to choose which team he’ll play for — kinda.
Jul 27, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT
Cyle Larin bagged his first pro hat trick on Sunday, somehow outshining David Villa at Yankee Stadium.
Jul 27, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT
Villa, Giovinco, Finlay and more — this week’s MLS Team of the Week.
Jul 27, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT
The first of three newly promoted sides, do the Cherries have what it takes to stay in the Premier League?
Jul 27, 2015, 2:24 PM EDT
JPW dissects the top deals, discusses which clubs have done the best business and which need to get a shift on.
Jul 27, 2015, 1:43 PM EDT
Plenty of preseason action continues out in the Far East.
Jul 27, 2015, 12:50 PM EDT
Can Sherwood rejuvenate Villa and show progress is being made? Losing Benteke and Delph will hurt his chances of doing that.
Jul 27, 2015, 12:02 PM EDT
Here are the latest rumors from around the soccer world.
Jul 27, 2015, 11:06 AM EDT
SWP and BWP in MLS for RBNY.
Jul 27, 2015, 10:20 AM EDT
El Tri boss could be in a lot of trouble if these reports are true.
Jul 27, 2015, 9:35 AM EDT
LVG isn’t afraid of telling it like it is. Not at all.
Jul 27, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
Can the Gunners improve on their third-place finish from last season?
Jul 27, 2015, 8:03 AM EDT
Red Devils sign another goalkeeper as the David de Gea saga rumbles on.
Jul 26, 2015, 9:59 PM EDT
It’s been an ugly tournament for El Tri, but they showed up ready to play in the finals.
Jul 26, 2015, 9:32 PM EDT
Arsenal won its second preseason trophy, while Romelu Lukaku logged a hat-trick for the Toffees.
Jul 26, 2015, 8:26 PM EDT
The French youth international impressed in the friendly against Wolfsburg, and Arsene Wenger wants him to stick around the Gunneres’ system.
Jul 26, 2015, 7:29 PM EDT
Banged up Mexico takes on rigid Jamaica in a scintillating Gold Cup final matchup.
- Monday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: PSG’s $133 million Ronaldo bid, Stones to Chelsea 1
- Amid reports of journalist brawl, Mexico boss Miguel Herrera looks ahead to USMNT showdown 5
- Manchester United lack creativity to challenge top clubs, says Louis van Gaal 6
- Premier League 2015-16 season preview: Arsenal 9
- Mexico 3-1 Jamaica: El Tri overpowers Cinderella story to win Gold Cup 30
- Frank Lampard ruled out of MLS All-Star game 2