Walcott proud to have kept pace with the game

Our man burst on to the Premier League scene as a 17-year-old in 2006 and after reaching 300 appearances in the competition he is proud that he has been able to keep up with the pace of the game.

“As a personal achievement, it’s fantastic,” Walcott, who joined Everton from Arsenal in 2018, said. “A lot’s changed up until now – a new football club as well – and I couldn’t have dreamt this from day one.”

The landmark appearance was December’s 2-2 draw against Watford at Goodison Park.

Walcott made his PL debut the day Arsenal played their first match at Emirates Stadium, in August 2006, seven months after moving to the club from Southampton at the age of 16.

Over the 12 years since, he has seen how greatly things have changed.

Where his youth and pace were once seen as an exception, Walcott admits such traits are more common, making it an even greater challenge to reach the 300-mark, for which he was given a special Milestone award by the Premier League, in association with Cadbury.

“The Premier League has got better,” he says. “Everyone’s an athlete. The level is just increasing every single year. Young players are coming through now more so, as well.

“The level was so different to every other team but now everyone can beat everyone. That’s why it’s the best league in the world.”

The first of his 71 Premier League goals came at Birmingham City in February 2008, but his favourite was in Arsenal’s 5-3 win at Stamford Bridge in October 2011.

“I managed to weave in and out of Ashley Cole and John Terry, who are two top internationals, and hit it past Petr Cech, who was eventually a team-mate,” he says.

“I wound him up about that quite a few times when he joined the club [Arsenal].”

Words taken from premierleague.com – https://www.premierleague.com/news/981169