Darren Bent insists that Theo Walcott needs to be playing “every single week” as he closes in on a move to join Southampton from Everton.

The former Tottenham and England striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, admits he does not think the Toffees are making a mistake letting the winger leave after his “inconsistent” form in recent seasons.

As revealed by Football Insider, Southampton have agreed a deal to sign their former youngster on loan, although the Saints will only pay for half of the 31-year-old’s wages.

Walcott started 17 Premier League games in his 25 Everton appearances last season, but he has featured just twice in the Toffees’ seven games this term.

Bent believes that the England winger still has plenty to offer at Southampton but insists he needs to be playing week in, week out if he is to rediscover his form.

Bent told Football Insider: “It’s a bit difficult for Theo because he’s been a bit inconsistent for the last few years now.

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“He has got a lot to offer, still got a lot of pace, still gets into those dangerous areas where he can cause problems but for whatever reason, he’s not progressed really, he’s never looked the same since he left Arsenal.

“With them allowing him to leave, there were going to be suitors for him. For me, Theo is a player that needs to be playing week in, week out.

“He’s not a player who can play here, play there and you’re going to get the best out of him. He needs to be playing every single week.

“That’s when you’ll see the best of him, he’s still got his pace, he’s still in great shape, he’s still relatively young enough. For me, I wouldn’t say it was a mistake.”

In other news, Southampton have opened talks to sign Newcastle United 27-year-old.