Walcott feels move to Everton is the right career decision
The 28-year-old is in line to make his debut for Allardyce’s side against West Brom
Everton’s new signing Theo Walcott: “I have a new manager I have to impress and get the ball rolling.” Photograph: PA Wire
Having spent 12 years at Arsenal, scoring 108 goals in 397 appearances and helping the club win two FA Cups, Theo Walcott might have expected his departure from the Emirates would be grander than leaving in darkness while carrying his belongings in rubbish bags. But that is how it ended for Walcott after he completed his £20 million move to Everton.
“When I found I was coming here I had to go there at night and pick up all my stuff in bin bags,” Walcott said. “I will at some point go back and say my proper goodbyes, but we do play them very soon, which I am looking forward to.
“I’ve known Arsène Wenger since I was 16, and to bring in a young player and have belief in him – I can’t thank him enough. With any player if you are not playing you are going to be upset, but I’ve always had so much respect for the manager.
“When you look at the minutes this season I’ve played I wasn’t part of it, so it was just about getting the timing right. As a career decision I felt it was time. It happened so quickly. There is no point in dwelling on the past.”
Walcott watched his new team-mates train at Everton’s Finch Farm base on Wednesday, and completed his first full session with them on Friday. The 28-year-old is in line to make his debut for Sam Allardyce’s side – and make his first Premier League start since April – when West Brom visit Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon.
“I have a new manager I have to impress and get the ball rolling,” said Walcott, who was the third highest -scoring Englishman in the Premier League last season with 19 goals, behind only the Tottenham pair Harry Kane and Dele Alli. “After speaking to the gaffer and particularly Wayne [Rooney] as well, I felt the club was on the up, with a manager who seems to get the best out of players.
“I want this club to push on and reach the levels it can, and you get the sense it is a club that financially can attract big players. I got a sense from Wayne he was hungry and the club was eager to push on, and that is why he wanted to join. He felt it was the right place and I totally agree with him.”
The visit of West Brom will be Allardyce’s 1,000th match in management, a 25-year career in which the 63-year-old has been in charge of Preston, Blackpool, Notts County, Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham, Sunderland, Crystal Palace and, for one game, England.
“I actually thought I was already there when I left Crystal Palace because if you counted Limerick I was well past 1,000 games but those games weren’t added because it wasn’t a full-time professional club,” Allardyce said.
“To experience so many different clubs with so many different cultures has been a great journey for me. I now look forward to the lads making sure we win and I can celebrate it a little bit more when we get those three points.”