Nick Harris: Sleek and skilful but no pushover, Walcott has the world at his feet

Much has been written about Theo Walcott already, but having made just 22 first-team appearances, few have seen him in the flesh. Nick Harris is one of the lucky few
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Blistering pace, superb touch and sublime control: without wanting to burden Theo Walcott with expectations too great, too soon, some of his best moments for Southampton were akin to watching Thierry Henry.

Four examples spring to mind. Against Luton in December, Walcott hared after one hopelessly quick goal kick, skinned his marker, improbably reached the ball as it bounced wide out left, waited a heartbeat for the perfect position, and then lobbed the ball diagonally, left-footed, with his first touch, 25 yards into the net.

His first goal for Saints, in October, was less stunning but no less memorable. He dashed for a long ball, won an aerial challenge for possession, and smashed a first-time volley. Sleek and skilful, but no pushover. He showed that in his first League game against Wolves last August. It was only a pity that after dancing past five defenders Walcott's shot was saved.

One stunning piece of skill that did end up in the back of the net, for the Southampton reserves in a 4-2 victory over Portsmouth in October, bodes well for the summer. From inside his own half, Walcott ran, ball at feet, with perfect close control, half the length of the pitch, dodging and weaving before cracking home his goal. Think Michael Owen versus Argentina, 1998. It was that kind of goal. And Theo Walcott is that kind of talent.

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