Stars and Gripes

Occasionally interesting insight (and gripes) about the USMNT

Beckham and Walcott

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Since it was announced some weeks ago by the England staff that David Beckham would travel to South Africa in an undefined team role, many have wondered just what exactly would occupy Beckham’s time.  Some comments from Theo Walcott in the Express today shed a little light on his role: mentor.

Being a mentor seems a good use of Beckham’s time, and Theo Walcott specifically could benefit.  While the Express piece focuses more on the footballing aspect of the Beckham-Walcott relationship (staying wide, crosses, etc.), there’s arguably a far more important pretext: Beckham may be the only member of England’s traveling party who has experienced the roller coaster of praise and criticism that Walcott has endured over the last four years.  Throughout the course of his international career, Beckham had his share of peaks (his epic performance against Greece in the final qualifier in 2006), and valleys (red card vs. Argentina in 1998).  Likewise, Walcott was plucked from obscurity four years ago, when it was widely acknowledged that he was still a very raw player who had thrived at the academy level based almost exclusively on his prodigious speed.  He never played a minute in Germany, fought injuries with Arsenal, and then turned in his majestic performance in Zagreb.  Since then, he’s been the subject of oft-intense criticism, ranging from his inability to stay healthy, to Chris Waddle’s stinging comments about him lacking a “football brain.”

I firmly believe that Walcott and Lennon will need to play a big role if England want to break through the Quarterfinal barrier that has so often been their final destination.  With so much of the England attack running through Cole, Gerrard and (often) Rooney on the left wing, the ability to keep width on the opposite pitch will be key.  Anything that helps Walcott keep a proper frame of mind is time well spent for the England staff.

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Written by Pete Kavanaugh

May 28, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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