Danny Murphy: Hodgson made a mistake not starting Theo Walcott

Theo Walcott

Former England midfielder Danny Murphy has suggested Roy Hodgson should have started Arsenal player Theo Walcott against Ireland.

Former Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Danny Murphy told talkSPORT he was surprised Theo Walcott didn’t start for England against the Republic of Ireland yesterday.

Walcott came off of the bench for a brief cameo under Roy Hodgson and Murphy feels the Arsenal man’s recent form for his club was a justification that he should have started the game.

“Yeah, that’s why I think he should have started (pace and form) – He’s someone who puts players onto the back foot and I’m surprised,” he said.

Walcott hit a hat-trick on the final day of the season for the Gunners before earning his starting place in the FA Cup final, where Arsenal had too much for Aston Villa.

It was always going to be a difficult game for England yesterday because the players definitely had the look of individuals who had party switched off after the end of the league season.

England’s next game is against Slovenia this weekend, which is a competitive match and one where the intensity should be a little higher during the game.

Walcott is in line to start the match because he’ll be fresh and has the pace needed to destroy any side during normal play or on the counter attack.

It will take a big call from Hodgson to start the Arsenal man up front because of Wayne Rooney, though the Manchester United skipper could drop slightly deeper and into a number ten role.

Unfortunately Walcott couldn’t grab a winner inside ten minutes yesterday and it will be interesting to see which way Hodgson sways this weekend.

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