West Ham boss Bilic raved about Arsenal's Theo Walcott in 2008

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has a long standing admiration for Theo Walcott.

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott was this week linked with a big summer move to West Ham.

The former Southampton trainee is claimed by The Sun to be closing on a £20 million move to the Hammers, and Slaven Bilic's interest is no fleeting glance.

West Ham boss Bilic has been well aware of Walcott for almost a decade, after he helped put him out of a job.

Walcott's finest moment with England came against a Slaven Bilic managed Croatia, when he scored a sensational hat-trick in Zagreb to give Fabio Capello's Three Lions a 4-1 win.

Croatia did not qualify for the 2010 World Cup, with the loss to England a large factor as their campaign did not recover from the hammer blow.

Bilic spoke highly of Walcott at the time, raving about him after the game, The Mail reported: "He is lightening quick and a great finisher.

"He scored two goals from not-so-easy positions. It is hard to mark him. That is why he is an England international and why he is at Arsenal."

While Walcott has failed to excite in quite the same manner as he did for England that night for his country, he remains a talented player who has simply lost his way, and could benefit from a new environment.

Bilic has shown this season he can get the best out of players, and if he brought Walcott in, he would be quick to remind him of that night in 2008 to try and inspire him to produce the same type of form. 

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