Sunday, 22 August 2010

Alan Hansen critical of Theo Walcott despite man of the match performance

After scoring a hattrick in what many Gooners consider to be your best performance in an Arsenal shirt, Theo Walcott must have headed home last night looking forward to watching his performance on Match of the Day.

However the young Englishman was in for a rude awakening. Former Liverpool defender and the BBC's number one football pundit Alan Hansen was to deliver a damming assessment on the 21-year-old's character and ability as a footballer.

Below is a what he had to say about Theo:
"If it was against Evra or Ashley Cole and we were sitting here on that sort of performance we'd be staying it was out of this world.
"But you're playing against a team that is struggling, a team that was struggling defensively for pace, for cover, for everything else. And all right, you might look at me and think that's a bit harsh and he scored a hattrick but what you're always going to judge him on is not what he does well and does instinctively it when he's got time to think about it.
"That's the big criticism. When he's got time to think about what's happening I think he struggles a bit."
Insert clips of Theo doing things right and wrong.
"If you are going to be the best in the world, the best in the Premiership, you've got to have an all round game.
"When he's got time and space to pick out the right ball, he picks out the wrong ball.
"People have said he's not got a footballing brain and if you've not got a footballing brain you just can't acquire one. You can't coach a footballing brain 
"But I think he's a wonderful player and I think he will get better. The big problem is when he's got time to think about things he never ever picks out the right ball."
Now I don't believe yesterday was the time or the place to take Theo's performance apart piece by piece. Yes he is still to be the finished article, but he is moving in the right direction. 

There is no denying we are seeing a different Theo Walcott to the one we saw last season. In someways his exclusion from the England squad to the World Cup was a blessing in disguise.

I certainly think Arsenal will benefit from Fabio Capello's snub.

But Hansen was wrong to do what he did yesterday. Yes, indeed he is right that Theo can improve. He wouldn't deny that himself. But to hand out that sort of critique after a player scores a hattrick and does more things right than he does wrong, is out of order.

Skip to 11mins 20seconds to listen to the critique. 

Arsenal v Blackpool
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  1. Maybe this man Hansen has something against Walcott. Maybe after being proven wrong after his earlier criticism, he felt too proud to just admit it. This theory about footballing brain is all hogwash. I dont buy it. But thats Hansen for you a big mouth with no analytical brain
    Chege, Kenya.

  2. got to say, much as i love arsenal, and much as i love Theo when he is in full flow, hansen has a point - when he has to think about what to do next, Theo usually fails to deliver - when he doesnt have the time, the instincts are there, and he does tend to do well; which makes me think that he might still come good over time, although i tend to think that Hansen is the only pundit on tv in England who tends to know what he's on about - which was a little depressing last night; maybe he is correct, maybe its something that cant be learned; alternatively, perhaps, its a confidence/experience thing - as he makes the right decisions when he doesnt have to think, perhaps he overthinks when he has time - and tahts something which he might learn to cope with - who knows.

    one thing for certain - if he carries on getting more of the ball in advanced positions, he'll be more likely to get goals and his confidence will increas,e which i think will be likely to breed a better Gooner - all we need is a CB and a GK and we could have a great season!

  3. Lineker backing Walcott up says enough about Hansens criticism.

  4. Alan said the true about Theo and it's good for England to have a good commentator who loved the England team not only Liverpool. Theo had a good day but life goes on everyday so he should learn the good thing that nobody like his pace and timing a little bit second after he 's free like shot 4 time and the 5thhe should pass .

  5. Hansen is wrong that you can't acquire a footballing brain. With most players, this is the last thing they add to their game. Perhaps it's not coached in the same way that the technical skills are. But you can watch, listen and learn. And, unlike most young British players, Walcott has the ability to do that and, in my opinion, will do that.

    Walcott is an example of why good young players put their faith in Wenger. He sees a player for what he will become and not necessarily for what he is today. Unlike the meat market that is Real Madrid that will probably be displaying the for sale sign on Mesut Ozil in a few years time, Walcott will become a significant player for both Arsenal and England in the years to come.

  6. I'm not a great fan of Alan Hansen, and don't particularly rate him as a football pundit, but I think he does have a point with regards to Walcott, perhaps it is a bit harsh, especially after he scored 3 goals aginst Blackpool yesterday, but this was against a 10 man team that have only just been promoted to the premier league, and are woefully short of pace at the back... It was easy for Theo yesterday, and he'll do that kind of thing every time against this kind of opposition. He needs to start doing this sort of thing against the likes of Chelsea and Man Utd, before he can really be considered the 'best' in his position.. He has phenomenal pace, which at times seems to hinder him, its almost as if he's feet are too quick for his brain at times.. He is still young and has time on his side, and is definately at the right club with Wenger as his coach, what Theo needs to do now is stay injury free (he's had his battles with injury over the past few seasons)and build on this performance... I think he's still developing as a player, but his apprentiship is over, and he now has to start delivering these kind of performances every week... He's got a big point to prove having been left out of the World Cup squad this summer, and I sincerely hope he proves his critics wrong.. Hansen also said that he often picks out the wrong ball when he has time to think, again I have to agree, but this is something he has to work on, and will only come with experience.. Time will tell for Theo Walcott, but that time has to start soon.

  7. Hansen was bang out of order, he was snarling when he said it, I couldn't believe it I was at the match and I was so pleased that Theo tried a bit too hard to go direct, it was much better than just passing to no-one. He scored a fucking hat-trick for god's sake. He and Andrey were the only real bright sparks in the game apart from Song in defence who was an absolute marvel. Chamakh got everything wrong until he turned out to be a tall forward who could score with his head! Theo had a great match and Alan Hansen is a dried up old bitch.