Lee Dixon reveals he 'felt sorry' for Walcott as England played Italy

Theo Walcott

The Arsenal winger had a difficult game for England against Italy in Turin.

Theo Walcott was a member of a relatively toothless England attack for the first hour of the game, playing less wide than he does for Arsenal in the first half and then a little more central in the opening 15 minutes of the second, leading to a couple of Gunners legends revealing on ITV that they felt sorry for the forward.

It meant that the former Southampton player failed to have any impact against what was a strong Italy defence, and with starts hard to come by under Arsene Wenger, the 26-year-old would have been disappointed not to turn any heads in his first England start for 18 months.

The game only really changed for England when Walcott was withdrawn for Ross Barkley 10 minutes into the second period, with further substitutions improving Roy Hodgson's side even more, and the Gunners star will have felt that he would have been able to do more damage either out wide or with the Everton man driving England's attacking game.

The forward's struggles were keenly felt by ex Arsenal duo Lee Dixon and Ian Wright in the ITV studio after the game, with Dixon bemoaning that the changes came too late for Walcott.

“They played him as a number 10 at the start of the second half," said the former fullback. "And they actually played even narrower than in the first half.

“And then he got substituted off."

The others in the studio then pointed out that Tottenham winger Andros Townsend, a direct competitor to Walcott in the squad and someone else who many though was underserving of a place, came on and starred in the final 20 minutes of the match, scoring a fabulous equaliser from outside of the box.

Unless Walcott wins a more regular playing role for Arsenal before the end of the season, he may well find Hodgson's loyalty wavering somewhat.

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