Ex-manager gutted as Walcott agrees Southampton deal after Everton 'agony'

Alex McLeish has admitted he is disappointed Theo Walcott never “ignited” at Everton ahead of a permanent move to Southampton.

The former Scotland boss, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the winger only showed “flashes” of his ability at Goodison Park.

As confirmed on Tuesday, the 32-year-old has reached an agreement in principle to sign a two-year deal at St Mary’s when his Everton contract expires this summer.

Walcott initially joined the Saints on loan back in October after struggling for game time at Goodison Park.

McLeish admitted supporters had not seen the very best of the winger during his time on Merseyside.

However, he suggested there had been a pressure lifted by returning to Southampton

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

Asked if he was disappointed things had not worked out for Walcott at Everton, McLeish told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “That’s what was going through my head though when you said that.

“He never really ignited consistently at Everton. We saw flashes of the Arsenal protege way back in the day at Everton.

“But it was never enough for him to cement a regular spot in the team every single week. Back home at Southampton, maybe he feels a bit of a release in his body and his head.

“That can also trigger good form and players being comfortable in their heads when they sometimes go through times of agony when they’re not in the team.” 

Walcott scored 11 goals and contributed nine assists in 85 appearances for Everton.

A graduate of Southampton’s academy, he has played 22 times since returning to St Mary’s.

In other news, Everton are braced for offers from European heavyweights this summer.