Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Time for Sven to Experiment

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Time for Sven to Experiment

Article excerpt


THEO WALCOTT has to be used by Sven- Goran Eriksson sooner or later - otherwise there was no point taking him to Germany. He has talked about the striker having sheer pace and being able to offer something different so, given all the injuries to our strikers, why doesn't he use him?

I wouldn't say it was a foolish decision to pick him but, if he doesn't get on this afternoon, I can't see him playing in the World Cup because Wayne Rooney will be back.

Unless Walcott comes off the bench and pulls up trees in a quarterfinal or semi-final, it's impossible for the manager to justify picking him.

I'm beginning to think maybe Eriksson picked Walcott just to take the spotlight off Rooney for a week or two.

Perhaps the Swede is not as stupid as some people might believe because he knew how much attention a 17-year-old would get.

I wouldn't have taken Michael Owen off against Paraguay because he is an out-and-out goalscorer and our main hope of scoring a goal.

I would always keep him on for the whole 90 minutes. Strikers hate going off after an hour just when the defenders are getting tired and the game is opening up and he obviously has a better chance of scoring the longer he is on the pitch.

Once he gets one goal, he is the type of player who gets on a roll and scores four in four games - he has always scored in spurts. But once Eriksson made that decision, he should have brought on Walcott or Aaron Lennon.

The thing that worries me is whether Walcott has done enough in training. I watched him in the B international against Belarus and he looked a bit lost.

That is not surprising given that you are talking about someone who has never played in the Premier ship - that's not his fault though.

I'm a big fan of Jermain Defoe, even though he didn't have a great season for Tottenham, and I also think Darren Bent would have been a better bet. …

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