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Waddle worried about Walcott

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04 Mar 2010 08:48:01

Waddle worried about Walcott

Chris Waddle has questioned Theo Walcott's England credentials and claims the Arsenal winger "doesn't understand the game".

Walcott, 20, gave a disappointing performance in Wednesday night's 3-1 victory over Egypt, and England improved after he was replaced by Shaun Wright-Phillips early in the second half.

"People keep saying he's young but Wayne Rooney understood the game at 16, 17," Waddle said. "I've never seen any difference in Theo Walcott since he was at Southampton and broke into the team at a very young age. I've never seen him develop. He just doesn't understand the game for me - where to be running, when to run inside a full-back, (when to) just play a one-two."

Four years ago Walcott was selected for England's World Cup squad before he played a first-team match for Arsenal, but his prospects of earning a place on the trip for the finals in South Africa this summer may have diminished after his underwhelming display at Wembley.

Waddle has serious concerns about Walcott's development, and the 49-year-old former England winger, who won 62 caps and helped Bobby Robson's team reach the 1990 World Cup semi-finals, criticised the young Gunner's knowledge of how to fill a wide role.

Speaking on BBC Radio Five Live, Waddle said: "It's all off the cuff.

"The ball comes to him and if he gets a good first touch he might be on his way if he shows pace. But he has a plan in his mind before the ball comes to him.

"He's not looking as if to think, 'This is where I want to be, this is where I want to go, and this is what I'm going to do'. It just seems to be all off the cuff.

"People keep saying to me, 'Oh he's young and he'll learn'.

"I keep thinking, 'Fabregas has learnt and he's young, Rooney has learnt... they all read the game so well'. I just don't think he's got a football brain and he's going to have problems."


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