There was a time when Theo Walcott was so unwilling to rock the boat that when Fabio Capello dropped him from last summer's World Cup finals within hours he released a statement wishing the team good luck.
Then, when he was recalled to the squad in August 2010 – with the England manager at his lowest ebb after the failure in South Africa – the player resisted putting the boot in and said that Capello has been right to drop him. But as of last month English football's Mr Nice Guy decided to bite back.
In his autobiography Walcott (pictured) accused Capello of being "stiff and starchy" around the England camp and confessed to being "confused" by what was required of him. Even those who have been ignored by Capello have not criticised the manager in public – despite being aware he will be gone by this time next year – and as a result Walcott will have known that even the slightest criticism of Capello would attract attention.
But given the opportunity yesterday to add a little context to his comments in Theo, Growing Up Fast, Walcott stuck firmly to his guns. Walcott said he was "very happy" with the book and that he had approved every word.
"I knew it wouldn't cost me at all," he said. "If I play well, the manager will pick me. I saw Mr Capello [after the book was serialised in a national newspaper]. There's no point thinking what's going to happen next. You just need to be professional, play your football and that's what I do.
"I'm playing well at the moment, I'm enjoying it, hopefully my managers can see that and show faith. I've always had respect for all the managers I've ever been involved with.
"When I have not been playing well they've still picked me. The manager picked me the other night [against Bulgaria on Friday], which I was grateful for. But if you're playing well, you'll get a chance to play."Reuse content