It’s clear whenever Theo Walcott is interviewed that he is a rarity in football – a well educated and grounded young man who avoids flashing the bling around too much.
He even lives with his parents despite the stick he may get about that from team-mates.
Yep, he has the attractive girlfriend and his appearance on ITV’s Mr & Mrs show is not something he’s going to want to advertise too much. Click the yellow link if you want a laugh!
But he’s been brought up well enough to know full well that going to the World Cup in 2006 put him on a hiding to nothing – unless he won the thing for us.
Full credit to Theo, he didn’t shirk the opportunity and he’s shouldered the ‘flop’ tag around with him in some quarters ever since.
But at no time has he said that he regretted going with England to Germany; at no point did he complain or rise to criticism about his indifferent performances.
Compare and contrast with David B*ntley – the man who left Arsenal after growing impatient that he hadn’t usurped a certain Dennis Bergkamp from the first team as quickly as he expected...
That’s the same David B*ntley who refused to play for England because he needed a rest – and decided he was good enough to be able to pick and choose.
The same David B*ntley who warned Theo that he would have to leave Arsenal to make a name for himself.
The same David B*ntley who believes leaving Blackburn for T*ttenh*m is a step up.
So I afforded myself a wry smile last night when I noticed that B*ntley hadn’t even made it to the England bench – and how stupid must he have felt (if he has the brains to process rational thought) to see young Theo go on and get a hat-trick.
The thing about Theo is that he’s added a bit of grit to his game, scoring two of his goals after being clattered and carried off in the first half – and there have been signs of it for Arsenal too that he’s getting that ‘nasty’ streak that will add power to his pace.
And Theo is not the sort of person to ever stick the metaphorical finger up at anyone, let alone a T*ttenh*m rival who is hardly fit enough to clean his boots, on current form.
But there are two others I have honourable mentions for.
Luka Modric – the flair player many Gooners wanted us to sign and who showed in Euro2008 that he is a quality player.
Would anyone have swapped him for Theo last night? No, I don’t think so.
And there’s more…who was the winger at the World Cup in 2006 who showed glimpses of being a decent talent and then started getting snapped at a nightclub? Step forward T*ttenh*m’s Aaron Lennon.
No wonder his name is rarely mentioned when England squads are announced anymore.
And no, Aaron, sunglasses at night have never been cool.
So well done Theo. You’ve bided your time, kept your mouth shut and learnt diligently - let’s hope it continues now.