I’ve been a bit out if the loop this week what with Chav Flower Show to visit but found myself listening to the Talksport pre World Cup party yesterday evening on the radio. There was lots of talk about whether Rooney is really fit and who should be his partner, why Cashly is the only real left-back now that Bridge won’t be in the dressing-room with Terry and of course who should be first choice to play on the right Lennon or Walcott.
Now don’t get me wrong, I really want Theo to be a huge success – a huge success for Arsenal that is. Will it be good for Arsenal if he has a good World Cup? Will it be good for Theo if he has a bad World Cup? If we could welcome back a pumped-up Theo brimming with confidence to kick on and fulfill his potential that would be fantastic but a crushed Theo, shorn of his self-belief will be useless.
Theo is unproven in my opinion. He has pace, he has the looks, he wears the Arsenal shirt with pride but what has he actually achieved. It was pointed out during the radio show that Capello loves Theo – loves the fact that Theo scored a hat-trick for England and this fact alone puts him in front of Lennon. This can’t be a good enough reason to give him a starting berth when his form for Arsenal has been almost non-existent. Obviously his injuries haven’t helped him to play with any consistency but the way the commentators were on his back from the start of the game against Mexico the other night left me thinking that it can’t be a good idea to send a player to the World Cup hoping he’s going to find some form. I fear for him as the expectations are so high.
The accusations are always the same – fantastic pace but no end product. As gooners we have actually seen Theo whip a cross in - sadly often to no-one in the box – but he can do that. We’ve watched him race down a defender to a ball or track back to defend deftly. We know that he can do these things. We’ve seen him unleash a precise shot that sweetly hits the back of the net and watched as he’s come off the bench to terrify tired legs with 20 minutes to go. He could be Arsenal and England’s not so secret weapon – the secret would be whether his performance would be a success or a failure on that particular day. Which Theo would turn up?
In addition, if its to be a successful day for him, will the other mid-fielders in the England set-up see the signs as only too often they forget to include Theo in the game. He needs them to know he’ll deliver, I hope he’s shining at the England training camp, I hope it won’t be a wasted journey for him as it was in 2006.
If Theo is on the plane I wish him all the luck in the world but if he’s not I don’t think it’ll be a disaster for him or for Arsenal although its always nice to have one of our own in the England team.