If Walcott is such a bad player, why do Messi and van Persie rate him so highly?

Theo Walcott had a bad game in the San Siro.

He wasn't the only one but Walcott was again singled out because he's English, young, plays for England and is therefore an easy target. People always expect more.

Yet Robin van Persie is the founder member of Walcott's fan club. Why? Because he provides so many assists.

His pace is electric and van Persie even said: "I love Theo, I honestly love him. I don't understand the criticism. If you look at his assists rate then it is unbelievable."

If Arsenal sold Walcott this summer then there would be a queue round the block of clubs from home and abroad.

He's 22, years to improve and pace to burn. That's why Arsenal will try and get him to sign a new deal.

And if he goes, just remember what Lionel Messi said a year ago: "I can only speak from experience but he (Walcott) was one of the most dangerous players I have ever played against."

Messi and van Persie. Two world class players. They might just happen to know a thing about football.

***

Read John Cross's exclusive Arsenal column every Thursday and follow @ johncrossmirror on Twitter

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