Theo Walcott has announced his retirement from football at the age of 34, closing the curtain on a career that spanned 563 club appearances and 47 appearances for England.
7:59 AM UK Friday 18 August 2023
Theo Walcott has announced his retirement from football following his departure from Southampton at the end of last season.
Walcott, who scored more than 100 goals for Arsenal and was capped 47 times for England, had been linked with a move to Bournemouth and League One side Reading earlier this summer.
But the 34-year-old has called the end of his career, confirming his retirement with a social media post, having made 563 club appearances and won three FA Cups along with two Community Shields.
In an emotional video posted on social media, Walcott said: “The first moment I put on my football boots at the age of 10 was a special journey for me. From playing in the park with friends to performing in some of the stadiums largest in front of huge crowds around the world.
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“The support you have given me throughout this time has been incredible and I am truly grateful in every way imaginable. I have shared the soccer field with so many amazing players and we have created so many unforgettable memories.”
“I would like to thank all the directors and coaches I have worked with, especially Harry. [Redknapp] for giving me a start and Arsenio [Wenger] for showing me faith and supporting me when I joined the club at just 16 years old. During 18 fantastic years in the Premier League, there are so many moments that I will cherish.
“The early days at Southampton Football Club, my transfer to Arsenal, where I had a nice 12 years and scored over 100 goals, won the FA Cup and scored in the final, which is every child’s dream. To have had the chance to represent England 47 times and go to the World Cup in 2006 aged just 17 and still hold the record for the youngest debut by an England senior player and youngest treble goalscorer at 19 – I’ll never forget that feeling.
“I’m lucky to have had offers to continue playing, but it feels good to finish where I started and hang up my football boots. Thanks to everyone who has been with me along the way.”
‘So many unforgettable memories’
Theo Walcott wrote on Instagram:
“The first moment I put on my football boots at the age of 10 was the beginning of a special journey for me.
“The support you have shown me throughout this time has been incredible in every way imaginable and I am truly grateful. I have shared the football field with so many incredible players and we have created so many unforgettable memories.”
Walcott, who has scored 129 goals in all competitions, spent the majority of his career in north London at Arsenal after joining the club in January 2006 aged 16 from Southampton for a reported £5m. to £12 million.
The former Arsenal, Everton and Southampton winger has scored 80 goals in 397 Premier League appearances.
He was sensationally named in England’s World Cup squad that summer by Sven-Goran Eriksson despite not playing for the Gunners in the second half of the 2005/06 campaign.
Walcott became England’s youngest player at the age of 17 years and 75 days when he appeared in a friendly win over Hungary in May 2006.
He scored eight goals for his country, including a hat-trick against Croatia in World Cup qualifying in 2008, which made him the youngest player to score a treble for the Three Lions.
In pictures: Walcott’s career…
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