Exclusive: Theo Walcott forgets his keys after England hat-trick heroics
Published 00:00 12/09/08 By By Tom Parry and Emily Miller
Theo Walcott's mum Lynn had to stay up until 4am yesterday to let her son in after his World Cup hat-trick - because he forgot his key.
The 19-year-old arrived home at 4am yesterday to a hug off his delighted mum Lynn - and a shower of praise from girlfriend Melanie Slade, sister Holly and grandad Brian Carter.
Lynn told how she and ecstatic winger Theo huddled together on the sofa and watched a rerun of his goals after he returned to their £3million home from Zagreb.
The 42-year-old, who had earlier watched the match alone because husband Don was at the stadium in Croatia, said: "Theo got back in the early hours. We had a hug, I told him how proud I was.
"He rang me before he got on the plane to tell me he didn't have a key so I waited up for him.
"The first thing he wanted to do was sit down and watch his goals back. We went through it all over again. It was a very proud moment for me."
Lynn told how she watched the match with her two dogs and said she couldn't believe her eyes as her boy knocked in goal after goal.
She added: "Every time I thought things had peaked but it just got better and better."
Lynn said it was David Beckham - the player left out of the England team for Theo - who inspired her son's hat-trick with a rousing half-time pep talk.
She added: "Theo said David told him to be a bit more greedy.
"He was, and he scored two more. He said he was a bit nervous at first but once he found his feet he was all right.
"Theo always does his best. But the whole team was just shining. That's what we all want."
Despite his late arrival home after the energysapping match, Arsenal star Theo emerged from the house yesterday morning looking refreshed and raring to go as he headed for training with the Gooners.
He said: "That was such a fantastic night. I'm just amazed by the reaction of all the fans.
"The most important thing is we won."
Theo's sister Holly said she screamed with excitement as she watched her brother demolish the cocky Croats on TV.
The 24-year-old mum-of-two, who lives in the house where Theo grew up at Compton, Berks, added: "I almost lost my voice. It was brilliant.
"I spoke to him this morning. He's so chuffed, but is keeping his head down. It's back to training now, he's working hard."
Theo's girlfriend Mel, who is about to start a physiotherapy course in London, said she was looking forward to meeting up with the player to celebrate his hat-trick.
The 19-year-old, out shopping with her mum Sheila near their Southampton home, added: "I am so proud of Theo and think he has done really well.
"He has put a lot of effort into training and I know playing and scoring for England is something he always wanted to do. I had great fun watching the game in a pub in South London where I am based for uni.
"Obviously I was gutted I couldn't get out to Croatia to watch the game but I am really looking forward to seeing Theo to celebrate England's win."
Grandad Brian said he was always confident Theo would make the grade.
He said: "I knew this would be his year. Before the Croatia match he said he had a buzz about it. He told his dad he was really going to go for it. Theo had that hat-trick boiling up inside him.
It was only a matter of time. He's still very young, and what we've seen is just the beginning.
"Speed has always been his secret weapon.
"He could run faster than me at the age of six."
But Brian, of Salisbury, Wilts, insisted Theo will not let the momentous occasion go to his head.
He said: "Theo has a calm approach. The game is his passion, but he treats it as just a job."
Lynn added: "He'll handle it the way he does every time. It's water off a duck's back. He's a very level-headed lad.
"It would be hard to beat the attention he got after the World Cup in 2006. So it's a case of us almost being used to it. It's just one of those things that comes with success."
In an interview after the Croatia match, Theo told how his right boot fell apart just before half-time - but even that could not stop him scoring his fabulous hat-trick.
He said: "I actually played with one less stud in my right boot in the second half as it basically fell to pieces and I didn't want to change.
"That's why I finished the third with my left."
The down to earth youngster heaped praise on his family and said he owed his success to them.
He added: "My family and friends have brought me up well, look after me and help keep my feet on the ground.
"That's what I've always been like and I won't change at all. I'm not going to get ahead of myself."
But dad Don never even thought his boy was good enough to be a professional player, according to the youth coach who discovered him as a 10-year-old.
Theo was spotted playing for AFC Newbury by Swindon's Phil Cannon.
Phil, now at Derby, said: "Don was standing on the sidelines and I asked if he would consider signing for Swindon.
"He and only been playing for a week and Don said 'I did not think he was that good'. I said 'he will be'. He is the fastest player I have ever seen.
"I always knew he would be a good player and I was very proud of him on Wednesday night."
Theo bought the family mansion in Felden, Herts, just after his shock £9million transfer from Southampton to Arsenal two years ago.
The five-bedroom home sits on a winding country road near Hemel Hempstead, lined with luxurious properties.
Theo shuns the footballer's lifestyle of night clubs many of his counterparts enjoy - preferring to spend time with his family and Mel.
When Lynn mentioned how she'd love to learn to play the harp, she found a £2,500 instrument sitting on the doorstep on Mother's Day.