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The Difference Between Walcott and Wilshere

The Difference Between Walcott and Wilshere

There seems to me to be a marked difference in the level of these two players footballing development, even with Theo's 3 year age advantage and his obviously superior god given talents, Jack appears to be advanced in the two most important aspects of the game for a young kid, technique and football intelligence. In Australia, at the moment, there has been a debate raging about how to best educate our youth players, not from the age of 13-19, but from 6 or 7 to 13. The general focus of training youth players in Australia for the last 2 decades has been not dissimilar to the approach in England, whereby physical attributes like strength and pace often overshadow skills and rather than encourage technique we emphasise brute force, stamina and 'clever' rule bending. This has seen for Australia and for England a drought in creatively and technically talented footballers like Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, Paul Gascoigne and Glenn Hoddle for their respective nations.

In the past 2 years though, attitudes toward youth training have been changing here in Oz, and emphasis is moving from 11 a side, full field games to the 5 a side futsal style games used in countries renowned for their technical abilities like Brazil and Holland, for all juniors under the age of 11. The theory behind this move is that the foundation of a players technical ability is inherently laid at a young age and that any ground lost in technique as a junior can be near impossible to make up as a teenager, whereas on the other hand physical and mental attributes like fitness, strength and tactical awareness can all be learnt at a later date. It is at this point where we begin to see the difference in stages of Theo and Jack's respective development.

Walcott, a graduate of Southhampton's academy was blessed with brilliant natural ability in his speed and low centre of gravity, but raised in the English style of football, with it's physically based emphasis his already obvious skills were pandered to and further worked on while his technique (eg; first touch and short passing) was ignored and suffered. Wilshere seems at a glance to be a different proposition to Theo, and although equally slight in stature, he lacks the obvious physical gifts of Theo's pace, even if he does have a deceptive balance and strength for his age and size (not altogether different from our Russian superstar Arshavin). What Jack does have that Theo doesn't though, is a truly continental academy education, where he has been raised to believe that technical ability and football intelligence are the be all and end all of a young players game, and the benefit this has given him is plain to see. Jack is superior to Theo in touch, vision, passing, positioning and has multiple dimension's to his game, whereas Theo only obviously exceeds Wilshere in the one area - pace. Whereas Theo's pace was coveted as his main attribute, Jack was given a fully rounded football education and his physical ability, like his now apparent strength, was worked on at a later date.

This is not in anyway intended to be an insult to Theo, but more a testament to the Arsenal academy, the continental style of youth development and what that can do for a truly gifted young footballer.

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Writer:Ozi Gooner
Date:Monday August 3 2009
Time: 7:54AM


I think you're spot on with that analysis.
norfolk dumpling
03/08/2009 08:37:00
Difference? There is no comparison! Wilshere is on another planet to Walcott I'm afraid. He's waayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy smarter than Walcott on the ball, makes better passes, rarely loses the ball, has GREAT eye for goal and has amazing dribbling ability to boot! Walcott is nowhere near these attributes yet and needs to desperately take lessons from Wilshere to justify his price tag. I am truly overawed by this kid. I seriously wouldn't mind paying 18 mil to sign this kid! Having said all that, he's going back to the reserves when the season starts for Walcott to slot right back in!
03/08/2009 08:46:00
Interesting piece Oz. Our academy is certainly one of the best in Europe, you only have to look around all the teams in the league to see that. Even when these players aren't deemed good enough to play for Arsenal they are good enough to forge a career in football. I bet there are more teams in England with Arsenal educated players than not. With regards to Theo and Wilshere, their upbringings could be the difference between the two ..... but it could just be that Wilshere is naturally a better player.
03/08/2009 08:52:00
Spot on! Walcott said he looked up for beatie for his penalty-taking and that say it all for me. The thing with Walcott he still thinks like championship player and tends to make wrong decisions and he cant cut inside because he doesn’t have the technique to go past people without using his pace, he is pretty much an open book. Yet, he got a lot of potential and he has to look at players like henry, RVP, arshavin not jamies beatie to fulfill it . In other words, Walcott is English-type of player using his natural ability and refusing to learn it the other way, while Wilshire is international-type of player. I just hope he stays away from the media otherwise they will turn his head. it would be such pain to see his talent going to waste.
Gooner SA
03/08/2009 09:00:00
I agree with most of you've sid Ozi. I think Wenger will take Jack out the spotlight for a month now so as to avoid some undue pressure that Theo had to deal with. It's a big year for Theo, he needs to fullfill some of his promise.
03/08/2009 09:01:00
when he asked about capello he said he just want to get into the arsenal team! makes me smile
Gooner SA
03/08/2009 09:05:00
@ Rock, don't disagree that it may be the case Jack is just the better football, but I also don't doubt for a second that Theo would be a much more will rounded footballer if he had spent his earlier years at the Arsenal academy.
Ozi Gooner
03/08/2009 09:38:00
I hear you. The difference though that you don't highlight is that players are developed to play fora certain position. Theo was developed to be a striker, so speed was his main focus, needing one to two touches before striking. Wilshire on the other hand is a midfielder, creative play maker. Two completey different players bread for two completely difference positions. The fact that Wilshire played on he right is probably the bases for the article but its like comparing a goalkeeper with a defender.
03/08/2009 10:06:00
Where would Theo play? He can't play on the wing in this new 433 formation because he does not have the fluidity or creativity. He cannot play up front because he is generally not good enough to finish one on ones or link up play. Him playing on the wing would weaken our team, so do we just accept that, at this moment in time, he is not good enough and he plays on the bench? If we were going off who is best for the team, Walcott would play less than he did last year in my opinion.
03/08/2009 10:07:00
I would agree Trennon, but Theo has pretty much always played on the wing, even if he considers himself a striker. And when he has played up front, he has been garbage.
03/08/2009 10:08:00
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