Former footballer Noel Whelan believes that Theo Walcott has until the end of the season to prove his worth to Carlo Ancelotti – or face being told he is no longer needed.
Everton have lost just once in the league since the Italian took over in December, though Whelan feels Ancelotti will begin to shape his side around those who can convince him that they can play a part in his Goodison Park revival. Speaking to Football Insider, Walcott was the topic of conversation as Whelan fired a warning to the former Arsenal winger by suggesting Ancelotti could show the 30-year-old the door if he is deemed to be below the required standard.
He said: “The pressure is on certain players to produce because right now, [Ancelotti] isn’t going to get rid of any players as they’ve all got a clean slate and you know, they still need the experience and quality that [Walcott] possesses. But, at the end of the season, if he hasn’t produced the goods under the new manager, he’ll be on his way, no doubt about it.
“I don’t think Ancelotti messes about when it comes to players, he’ll then have his own money to spend on bringing players in, so you know, it’s a really crucial time for a lot of Everton players at the club as they have to cement their future.”
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It would be perfectly reasonable to expect the Everton players to be attempting to persuade Ancelotti that they fit the mould in terms of how he wants to shape his Toffees side in the months and years ahead.
Having won three of his opening six games in charge, it has been a mixed start on the pitch so far, though Walcott may have to do more based on his performances this season. WhoScored stats suggest he crosses just 0.4 times per game – which is arguably a surprisingly low total for a player often found on the wing.
Though considering his pass accuracy this season – which is currently Everton’s fourth-worst percentage at 67% – perhaps his potential resistance to crossing is explained by a rather poor success rate when finding teammates.
So it seems Walcott has a fair bit to work on, though it will not be until the summer when we find out if Whelan’s theory becomes reality. However, Walcott’s level of threat out wide may give Ancelotti something to think about as he finds his feet on Merseyside.
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