I'm a man of extremes; there are relatively few things that I think are alright. Theo Walcott seems to have fallen into this category for a lot of fans... they think he's alright.
Well, I don't think he's alright. I think he's the single biggest fraud to have played for Everton.
I'm not saying he was the worst player technically or even that he didn't try, there was always consistent messaging about him being professional in training and a nice lad.
Well, great... but, at the end of the day, he cost £20+ million and was picking up £110k a week, I'm glad he was professional.
Having watched 25 years of Everton from the same seat in the Park End, my view when we're attacking has been right down the line in which Theo spent most of his time. In that period of time, I've never seen a player be such a hinderance to a team than Walcott.
He actively made Seamus a bad player by never offering himself up as a sacrificial lamb in a move, he'd always make the run in behind that made it nigh-on impossible to pick out and we'd give the ball away.
The result always meant that he was out of position; and yes, he always made a cursory effort to track back but we'd be outnumbered and our right-back would be at 6s and 7s. He was a nightmare to play behind, and you saw in Silva's first season the upswing in Seamus's form when the absolute antithesis to Walcott, Richarlison, played there.
I put it to you that Theo Walcott knew he was doing this; he isn't daft, he's just selfish. He makes the effort that doesn't get him hauled up on the stats front so that his sprints are alright and miles covered is of a good level and because the ball did occasionally find him he'd have a great opportunity to score or assist. Except he didn't do that either because cowards like that are bottlers.
To me, this makes him even worse than absolute bags of shite – like I've seen in that position – like Mitch Ward. Because Walcott does have exceptional attributes, he did occasionally chip in with goals and decent performances, weirdly mainly against Spurs.
You can see now, with James on that side, how that improves Seamus, because he's always available in space to play a simple ball to, not running with his back to Seamus with his arm in the air, pretending to be gutted when the ball doesn't arrive.
Great full-backs only look great if what's ahead of them helps out. Baines and Pienaar are the best example of this... truth be told, my favourite ever Everton player was a ghost of himself without the South African ahead of him.
James is fantastic because he is able to take the ball from the full-back in that pocket and use it in whatever way he sees fit: a sprayed switch, a reverse pass inside, a dink over the top to the full-back. You name it, he can do it, and he doesn't give it away. He's a rare and exceptional talent.
Conversely, Aaron Lennon is not that... but he did offer for the ball in intelligent areas which helped his full-back. He made Kyle Walker look like a world beater in 2011-12; although he didn't have the cutting edge James did, he was much braver and much more effective for the team than Walcott ever was.
The Spurs fans' chant about Walcott came to bite them on the arse a few times... but, having watched both, I can confirm that Walcott is not as good as Aaron Lennon.
Reader Comments (36)
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1 Posted 07/10/2020 at 15:15:18
As Carlo said after the game, football is a simple game and sometimes the simple game and pass is wonderful to watch.
A lot of coaches have improved the game because they understand football, they might have coaching badges but don't need them, some coaches have certificates and badges coming out of their ears but their players don't understand or benefit from their coaching methods.
As for Walcott, James, you've described him perfectly, for me.
2 Posted 07/10/2020 at 15:16:08
3 Posted 07/10/2020 at 15:39:09
Passes he gets from James are just magical. Just Tosun left from Allardyce's £47M spending now. Fingers crossed he's shown the door in January so we can get a good back-up striker in.
4 Posted 07/10/2020 at 15:49:18
Come on now. His name doesn't get anywhere near an "Everton's Biggest Frauds" list.
He did the job required when he arrived. Tosun did too.
He cost what Moshiri agreed to pay. Now we don't need him, so let him go.
He wasn't good enough? Yes. A fraud? Never.
5 Posted 07/10/2020 at 16:08:38
6 Posted 07/10/2020 at 16:11:56
A fraud suggests he was some kind of con-man. He wasn't. He was a player whose game was largely based on speed. He got older, he got slower, we foolishly thought we were buying the player he had been 5 or 6 years earlier.
That was our mistake and one repeated by a lot of clubs who seem to have this rose tinted view of England internationals despite their obvious decline. Think Wilshere, Sturridge and Welbeck, all at the "peak" years of 28/29 and all unemployed now after they've seemingly run out of clubs naively thinking they can roll back the years.
It was Sam's mistake, and Moshiri's for backing him, and probably Steve Walsh agreed with it as he seemed happy to see anyone with a pulse. But he wasn't a "fraud".
7 Posted 07/10/2020 at 16:14:50
Too injured to play for Everton but goes and plays in the World Cup. Then has to "retire" due to injury, then shows up signing for Hadjuk Split.
Throw in all the red cards and crap performances when he deigned to participate. He was the single biggest fraud to have played for Everton
8 Posted 07/10/2020 at 16:19:01
Although it is really grating on me that we're paying £50k a week for him to play for Southampton unless he nets against all our main rivals?!
9 Posted 07/10/2020 at 16:46:15
10 Posted 07/10/2020 at 17:01:39
He often went for glory and failed to score on the angle and when he did make the cross, it was often misguided.
Small margins that meant he was jettisoned by Arsenal and England.
11 Posted 07/10/2020 at 17:05:11
Unfortunately another player we have overpaid for and given too high a contract too. Saving £50k per week between now and the end of the season rather than having someone who is going to play 10-15 minutes every other week is good value, irrespective if we are still having to fork out £50k per week.
I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up in the USA next season.
12 Posted 07/10/2020 at 17:18:53
The moment he lost that extra yard of pace, there is a very very average footballer. Players like him I would've eaten for breakfast, even at semi-pro.
13 Posted 07/10/2020 at 17:31:02
14 Posted 07/10/2020 at 17:36:58
The biggest fraud??? I can think of one who has become very rich doing absolutely nothing for Everton and still craves the limelight.
15 Posted 07/10/2020 at 17:46:20
I meant to pen an article on the dying breed of wingers who can motor past a full back to the byline and cut it back to the penalty spot while running full pelt. In these days of tactical formations, the wee man hurtling down the wing to cut it back for the centre-forward are rarely seen, and that's a shame.
A quality delivery is the lifeblood of a centre-forward, as Calvert-Lewin and every other successful Everton centre-forward has found. Now, it's more down to set-piece crosses or through balls, or crosses from deep.
How many times over the past few years have I heard myself shouting at a player to just cross the bloody thing? Has the winger become tactically redundant? I hope not as there is nothing more enjoyable to watch as that unerring cross meets the head of the incoming colossus... Took your breath away.
16 Posted 07/10/2020 at 18:15:19
I could not agree with your article more. Theo Walcott was a complete con-man throughout his time at Everton – and indeed at Arsenal, according to more than a few Gunners fans I know.
On the pitch, he hid from the ball far too often. He cleverly got his "miles" in but never really wanted the ball the way all the best players do.
Watch James Rodriguez. He wants the ball. He wants to make things happen for his team. He wants to provide an option for his teammates. The lad is an absolute joy to watch.
Mr Walcott ran up blind alleys constantly and destroyed his defensive partners with his lame attempts to con people he was trying to work back.
And that was when he actually played football. Because for all his years in the top flight, when did he ever play a full season for anyone? Injuries, my arse. Some players can't or won't play through the slightest of niggles. Some just want the money.
I've never seen a player subbed off so many times in a career (the first player to be substituted over 100 times in the Premier League) and do you know what? It never seemed to bother him one bit, each time it happened. That silly little handclap of his for the crowd (fingertips on pad of thumb) was quite insulting. Based on pounds paid versus minutes actually played, he must surely be one of the top earners (I use the word loosely in his case) ever to be in the game.
The lad was a complete waste of money (Thanks, Fat Sam!) and, in case people haven't guessed by now, I can confirm that I was not a fan. Others can tell me till they're blue in the face about the trophies he won and the caps he got and I still don't care. No reply or counter-argument to my opinion will make a jot of difference to this 60+ years fanatical Blue Nose.
Good riddance to Mr Walcott and well done to you, James, for your very accurate article.
Finally (hurrah I hear some of you say) what a brilliant, exciting time to be an Evertonian. I'm actually enjoying watching my team play again. I'm loving what Mr Ancelotti is building and I'm watching every game because I want to – for the first time in years. I can't wait for the derby. I think this is the one we've all been waiting for, for so long. COYB!!!
17 Posted 07/10/2020 at 18:16:08
As for Aaron Lennon, he always tried to give of his best when he played for Everton, and was effective and motivated to do so. He was far better than Walcott. Unfortunately he was sidelined by Koeman and Silva, who both knew nothing. I always thought Aaron Lennon would have contributed more to the team than Walcott would have ever done.
Walcott will be happy with his move, maintaining his salary, and will be able to see through the two years at Southampton with minimal. effort. Probably of to the States after that.
18 Posted 07/10/2020 at 18:43:19
That does not make him an evil bastard, we agreed the terms, but his agent might well describe him as having maximised his earning potential relevant to his real talent and finding saps, including us, to assist in this goal. I guess there is a skill of sorts in that.
Our last memory of him will be Brighton's second goal. Take another look at it. He had time to challenge, certainly if he thought it mattered. Instead he just stood off, fluttering around, while the shot was rifled in. There but not there, which is pretty much the story of most of Walcott's time with us. His agent might say he was being canny, not risking injury with a reckless intervention when he knew he was on his way. That might be true and sensible from his pov, but it's not what fans want to see...
20 Posted 07/10/2020 at 19:06:16
He's just continued that trajectory, a once promising young talent who's had a decent premier league career and will retire a multi millionaire.
He's no fraud but it was obvious there was no love for EFC and he was never really here to "try" and win anything he was just happy the ££££ kept rolling in.
Walcott should serve as the blue print of the kind of player we should stay clear from, we want hungry talent. Look at Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, the hunger and the desire to win. Walcott was just passively strolling through his Everton career.
21 Posted 07/10/2020 at 19:25:12
Does that make him a ‘fraud'? Even at the level of sport I've played there are players who tend to ‘do their own thing' rather than what their team mates would generally prefer they do. But these are lads who are keen to participate and want the team to do well; they are not inherently selfish, they just play to their strengths, have certain comfort zones or just their own picture in their head of what is required from them.
Unless he has some major vices then I doubt he needs to carry on playing, so I would think he is still a professional footballer because he enjoys the game, has a competitive streak and presumably hasn't been hounded out by his peers, which is what I would expect if every time him went on the pitch he was wilfully ignoring team orders.
I'd agree he is not a great fit for Seamus or the way Everton seem to want to play most of the time, but he has amazing longevity at the top level if he is an out and out fraud.
22 Posted 08/10/2020 at 10:58:57
How about Lössl, Garbutt, Køldrup, Alcaraz, Hottinger, Schneiderlin, Nyarko, Drenthe, Klaassen, Shandy and Sandro with a bench of Wright, Pistone, Williams, Hughes, Ginola, Gazza, Davies, and Jo.
I know Walker is the favourite for managers, but I would go for Smith, he really depressed the hell out of me.
Kenwright obviously is without competition as Chair to keep the Vibrac account ticking over so we can snap up gems for the U23s.
23 Posted 09/10/2020 at 12:20:45
Walcott was 10 years odd on the go in the Premier League, he's the last person capable of deceiving anyone.
Our manager at the time, and by extension our board, decided that buying him at the price was a good move. Theo arrived and did pretty much what he's been doing all his career which, in my opinion, is very little.
I don't think we should complicate it any further. The blame lies firmly at the club's feet as it does for Niasse, Sandro, Tosun.
24 Posted 09/10/2020 at 13:16:37
I agree at least he was “trier”. Always thought he might have been converted to full-back or wing-back.
25 Posted 10/10/2020 at 11:17:37
I agree he would have did ok in those positions. Arron as transferred to Turkish side Kayserispor and it rumoured that Oumar Niasse will join him there soon.
Good Luck to them both. Arron was a better quality footballer than Niasse, but the latter has a irrepressible enthusiasm which will help Art in in his new home.
26 Posted 10/10/2020 at 22:21:10
A much bigger fraud in my book is Moise Kean, who will likely never play for us again. If he was serious about being a success in England, or in football in general, then instead of going to sit his arse down on the bench in Paris, he could have gone and played every week in a Championship side, or a lower Premier League team, where he would have got some real experience and the chance to score goals every week.
As it is... well, what? What's he going to do? Try to look great in 5 cameos off the bench so he can earn his move and play in the middle of Neymar and Mbappe... Yeah, okay Moise. I'm sure he'd get a better class of lap dance in Paris.
27 Posted 10/10/2020 at 23:09:59
Moise Kean? I agree, also. There is something missing there. Perhaps a lack of maturity, but that doesn't necessarily come with age.
28 Posted 10/10/2020 at 00:01:03
Walcott gave us some decent moments, which instantly elevates him above some of the players we've watched in Royal Blue.
The reason you dislike him is that you had higher expectations based on what someone else decided to pay for him. Walcott didn't set the price.
Good luck to him. Seemed a nice enough lad. Football clubs, including ours, chew up and spit out players every year. There's no moral high ground to be taken when a player makes good money but doesn't work out at a club.
29 Posted 11/10/2020 at 00:15:24
Coleman dribbling the ball from right back used to drive me crazy. I run an under 10s team and I don't want my full backs doing this. Interestingly, this stopped as soon as Ancelloti came in.
Coleman has been looking back to his best because he has been moving the ball much quicker, and in better combinations on the right.
I can't help feeling that Coleman links up better with a right mid who tucks inside, allowing him to overlap. This was never going to be the case with Walcott.
Walcott is a good guy and a good professional. He scored over a hundred goals for Arsenal. He will do okay in the right team. Our team was never set up for him to succeed. Our midfield was always so weak that he had to play as a right mid, instead of a real right-winger.
I wish him well but it hasn't worked out well for him at Everton. I hope he does well at Southampton and we recoup a decent figure for him in the summer...
30 Posted 11/10/2020 at 00:59:21
Walcott was a poor buy for sure, unwanted by a more successful club, he was always on the downhill slope. He wasnt a fraud, he just flattered to deceive because his brain was made of straw, his inability to make good decisions flawed him as a player. Only when playing at full tilt did instinct kick in. You might ask how often did he play at full tilt? The veritable ‘strawman of ToffeeWeb!
However the accusation he was a fraud doesnt stack up, who did he con? We all knew when we bought him how average he was, if anything Im surprised he stayed so long and scored as many. The peak of his Everton career was his debut. He never made himself out to be a world beater, just a very middle of the road footballer who towed the line, kept his head down and met some very low expectations.
Those who ‘bigged themselves up and never got close to their billing in an Everton shirt? Well Id agree with Bilic, Materazzi a similar tale of hubris.
31 Posted 11/10/2020 at 01:03:37
He'd first come into football at the very late age of 11. He's never shown, for anyone, any football skill beyond a clean pair of heels, albeit diminishing as the years advance.
Decades ago Ruel Fox had the same limitations but, like "our" Theo (and he's still significantly "our's" wage-wise, if media reports are accurate), he had the nowse to make a lucrative career for himself regardless, despite disappointing so many true fans of football.
The Gravy Train still rumbles on.
32 Posted 11/10/2020 at 01:58:35
I agree with you as usual.
Your post cracked me up. Fraudsters Utd. I had a go at Bilic but you reminded me of a whole host of other clowns and con men.
33 Posted 11/10/2020 at 07:17:06
For me, Theo is a comfort zone player, a bit of a reputation from his early Arsenal days, a bit of pace, a few assists, the odd goal. It all keeps him on the borderline of outright criticism.
Compare him to Tosun, bought at the same time, roughly equally ineffective, but there is some respect for Cenk because you can see he is putting it all on the line for the club every time he plays and wears his heart on his sleeve.
34 Posted 11/10/2020 at 08:42:46
Walcott is out of contract next summer (according to this site) and so we will get nothing for him when he leaves.
But with a season-long loan, it does mean he has played his last game for Everton, unless this season he scores 25 goals, Southampton finish in the top 6, he is recalled to the England squad by Southgate and we offer him a new 3-year contract on £250,000 a week. Stranger things have happened, but not many in the history of the world would top that.
35 Posted 11/10/2020 at 08:49:58
Neither player set the world alight whilst playing for Everton, but one will be remembered by me for trying, whilst the other will be remembered more for not being that bothered, even though he probably had a lot more ability.
Walcotts best game for Everton, was against Liverpools kids imo. He made some great chances for his teammates, enough to put us out of sight, but when the going got tough, he became the worst player on the pitch, (contentious I know) because he simply didnt have the stomach for the fight.
Thats how I will always remember Theo Walcott, in a blue shirt, talented - but not really up for the fight.
36 Posted 11/10/2020 at 10:43:20
At Everton, he was capable enough tactically to hold down his position under successive managers but he was not prepared technically to put the effort in, because he did not want to get injured. He left because he knew that, under Ancelotti, he would not have got away with it, so he sought an opportunity to leave.
Lennon would by his work ethic and effort make a greater contribution to the team. Having a reputation and unfulfilled potential was no use to Everton, if Walcott was not willing to implement it playing for Everton.
This is the story of Walcott's ongoing career over his playing years, set to continue at Southampton and in the United States after that.
37 Posted 13/10/2020 at 18:53:49
There are more that come to mind but your team is a great selection!
Only thing you missed is the position of captain, for which I'd have to nominate Klaassen. For me, THE most overrated, clueless, weak, headless chicken of a "Footballer" I ever saw at Everton, in utter contrast to the hype.
To explain the praise of him by Cruyff would require me to accept that everything I thought I knew about football is wrong. The transfer doesn't sit comfortably.
Walcott doesn't come close.
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