Tomorrow evening, Roy Hodgson’s England will face off against Brazil in 2013’s first set of international friendlies.
The Three Lions will be without injured forwards Jermain Defoe and Daniel Sturridge, but Arsenal’s Theo Walcott feels he can now step up to become the side’s main striking force. In Wednesday’s match, the 23-year-old hopes to play down the middle, rather than out on the flank – just as he has done on several occasions for his club this season.
Manager Roy Hodgson plans to give the young star the chance to prove against Brazil he can do for his country what he has been doing for Arsenal. Walcott has flourished in front of goal during the 2012/13 campaign, bagging 18 goals – five more than his previous best in a full season.
The last six months have undeniably been a pivotal period in Walcott’s career. He has gone from being frozen out of the Arsenal team over his contract stand-off to his current status as the joint-highest English goalscorer in the Premier league. More importantly, he now has a new contract with the Gunners as one of the club’s highest earners.
It will be quite a leap of faith if Hodgson does play him as a central striker against Brazil tomorrow evening. But I think the young Englishman now has the skills required to fulfil the role.
At only 23 years of age, 30 caps is not a bad achievement. A lot of players of that age are only just starting to come into the set-up. This considered, Walcott’s experience gives him a huge advantage.
Having laid it on the line that he wanted to play as a striker, he has delivered on most occasions this season. To replicate his club form at international level, he just needs to be given a chance in the first team – an opportunity to show Roy Hodgson what he can do.
Hodgson has been trying out a new partnership of Wayne Rooney and Walcott in training and we could expect to see this implemented against the Brazilians tomorrow evening. In my opinion, the Arsenal-man could do a good job up top for England, especially if he performs in the same manner as he has for his club side.
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