The surprise Gunner who may get player-of-the-season - not Ramsey

Aaron Ramsey Banner

Arsenal's break-out star may well end up going head-to-head with one of his own for individual end-of-season awards.

The way the current Premier League season is going, there are three obvious nominations for the player of the season award: Liverpool attacker Luis Suarez, Manchester City's magic man Sergio Aguero and Arsenal's flourishing box-to-box midfielder Aaron Ramsey.

The Welshman has been in scintillating form, both domestically and on the European stage, and in Champions League and Premier League competition combined, the 22-year-old has been responsible for scoring a goal or creating an assist once every 101.5 minutes - a return that would befit any elite-level striker, let alone a player predominantly operating in central midfield.

He is already the most efficient tackler in England, having completed an astonishing 47 of his 57 attempts - a rate he creates on the European stage also. However, his role as Arsenal's star may not be so exclusive and there could well be a surprise inclusion in the conversations of who is deserving of the player of the season prize come the campaign's end.

Of this player, manager Arsene Wenger recently said, as quoted by The Mirror: 'He needs competition and preparation [but] will go from strength to strength.'

He is Theo Walcott, a player slowly returning to senior side selection following a two-month layoff due to injury… a fleet-footed forward acquired by the Gunners in 2005 as the ultimate heir to Thierry Henry throne but has since attracted criticism for not being the Frenchman's clone.

He is, ultimately, his own player and last season, particularly at the beginning of the campaign, showed precisely what he was capable of with a sustained run in the first-team.

Walcott, 24, will play with multi-dimensional motivation.

Firstly, he is coming into a side with many thriving players. Tomas Rosicky showed just last night against Olympique Marseille how much of a workhorse he can be, Mesut Ozil is the £42.4m marquee player, Jack Wilshere is hitting superb form and Santi Cazorla is one of the club's most accomplished passers of the football.

When Walcott is offered a starting role, like he may well have on Saturday, when the Gunners travel to Wales to take on Cardiff City, he will have to make a considerable impression in order to warrant a continued place in the starting XI.

'I am sure I will be back to my best very soon,' said the Englishman. 'It has been longer than I thought, but it is so good to be back out on the pitch [20 minute cameo versus Southampton] with the guys and playing in such a fantastic team.

'Seeing the way we play football has been fairly pleasant to watch [from the sidelines], but any player who is injured wants to go out there and perform. It is frustrating at times, but you have just got to think about getting back fit as soon as you can, and I am happy to be back now.'

Secondly, he will not only do all he can to prove to Wenger the right-wing berth is his, but his spot in the World Cup squad, never mind Roy Hodgson's first-team, is also under threat with the emergence of Tottenham Hotspur attacker Andros Townsend.

There is no reason to doubt that Walcott will not be another of Wenger's success stories this season.

Just last year he returned 14 goals, ten assists and created 38 chances in 2,282 Premier League minutes. That works out as an efficiency rate of one goal/assist every 95 minutes, the same return as the one Ramsey is currently enjoying.

What will work out in Walcott's favour is the improvement of Olivier Giroud. His box-play in the opponent's half, both on-and-off the ball, is exemplary and Walcott was the greatest beneficiary of David Beckham's involvement inside the England international camp during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Walcott was told that it is his job to whip the ball into the six-yard line from wide and not to worry about the positioning of his team-mates when crossing. Beckham urged Theo to use his instincts as it is his team-mates job to be in the right position to receive it, rather than for Walcott to look up, waste time and send a lofted ball in that way. Precious seconds would be lost and in-box movement may be jeopardised as a result.

Crossing is an attribute Walcott has improved drastically in recent years and he supplied one every 21 minutes he was playing last year. Considering Giroud's positional nous, the pair of them could enjoy a prolific partnership and Theo will no doubt relish the service from Mesut Ozil.

Walcott showed to all his detractors last season that he is more than just a runner and now he is back he will prove it all again…

image: © wonker

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