Shortly after the game last night the knives were already out for Theo but if Lampard had converted the chance created by him in the opening five minutes it could have been an entirely different story.
We’ve seen how Theo is a confidence player and as he started the game intelligently the goal could have changed how he performed the rest of the half. He faded badly but in his defence he wasn’t included in the game as both Brown and Lampard seemed to forget he was there. England started to tick when Crouch’s first goal went and sadly Theo had already left the field.
It would seem that Capello likes Theo and is prepared to give him chances in the same way as Wenger does. For Theo to be included in the World Cup squad he needs now to produce some form for us and I’m sure that he’ll get that chance.
In his pre-match interview, Fabio Capello blamed the off-field problems of some of his England stars on the vast wealth they have accumilated as young men. Anyone with an ounce of common sense would realise that paying a starting wage of £1k a week at 17 rising to anything from £20k to £160k is going to lead to a lack of judgement and a culture of irresponsibility.
The current scandal involving Wayne Bridge and John Terry has undermined the England team spirit. Previous embarrassments caused by Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney and the antics of Ashley Cole have revealed these young men to be selfish and self-indulgent. They think they are untouchable and beyond reproach.
Fabio Capello has urged them to concentrate on their football. To consider whether it’s football or scandal that they want to be remembered for. He wants them to recreate a collective spirit and to focus on the performance of the team and the style in which they play and not on what happens off the pitch.
I hope the current crop of young lions, including our Theo Walcott (who reportedly earns £60k per week) are learning how to behave. But I have to ask the question – where are the advisors? Capello is clearly unimpressed with how these pampered millionaires handle themselves and cites the same problems in all countries where football is big business. He has asked the players to be careful in their private lives and to remember they are role models for children and for all fans.
At Arsenal, we have a wage ceiling, but our young players also earn obscene amounts of money. Luckily we don’t have scandalous behaviour apart from the occassional misdemeanor with cars. Is this due to the guidance of a team behind the scenes or are our players just more sensible? I would like to think that Arsène Wenger makes sure that his charges get the right advice but maybe hes just lucky.
The agents are only after their own slice of the pie but are they not morally obliged to help manage the wealth that these players with a 8-10 year career are likely to accumulate?
Back to the World Cup, I love the way our country goes nuts when England are in an International competition and if Theo finds his way onto the plane to South Africa and into the squad I’ll be very happy for him. He showed last night that he still knows how to be creative, I feel the criticisms of him are unfair – he hasn’t started a game for England for 8 months and he’s only been fit to start for Arsenal a handful of times. There’s still time time for him to fly the flag for Arsenal – Come on Theo prove them all wrong.