By Tony Hughes
Jamie Redknapp has claimed the penny appears to have finally dropped for Theo Walcott as the signs grow he can fulfil his potential.
The England international has started the season on fire for Arsenal, scoring seven goals in nine matches in all competitions including a double in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Swansea.
This comes after he struggled for a starting role for much of last season, in which he scored nine goals in 42 games, with just five strikes coming in the Premier League.
Redknapp has been impressed at how Walcott has reignited his career following a difficult period in which it appeared he could leave Emirates Stadium.
“Walcott has found it difficult to fulfil his early promise but hopefully at 27 the penny has finally dropped,” Redknapp wrote in his Mail column on Monday. “Over the summer Walcott must have realised he was neither fit enough nor strong enough and started working with personal trainer Bradley Simmonds.
“He will have done a lot of work with Theo on building his core strength and that has clearly paid off.
“Walcott has scored five goals in eight games this season — as many as he managed in each of the last three campaigns. He could have had five against Swansea alone but I don’t mind that he missed three great chances.
“His two goals on Saturday were scrappy and ugly and it’s those you need if you want to become a 20-goal man.
“Yes, he was disappointing for England but most of our players struggled in the World Cup qualifiers.
“He’s in the form of his life for Arsenal and now he’s got to prove he can do it for a whole season.”
Walcott’s re-emergence comes at a time when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has slipped down the pecking order, while striker duo Lucas Perez and Olivier Giroud have struggled for game time.
Manager Arsene Wenger has chose to use Walcott on the right flank this season, with Alex Iwobi mainly on the left and Alexis Sanchez spearheading the attack from a new central role.
Arsenal’s win over Swansea lifted them to second in the Premier League, where they are behind leaders Manchester City only on goal difference.
In other Arsenal news, Bournemouth fans have taken to Twitter to hail Jack Wilshere for his weekend performance.