Theo Walcott: Former Arsenal and England forward retires from football aged 34

Theo Walcott has announced his retirement from football.

The 34-year-old has been without a club since leaving Southampton in June following his contract expiry at the end of last season. Walcott said he had offers to continue playing but “it feels right to finish where I started”.

Walcott, who was an academy graduate with Southampton, endured a difficult second spell with the club having re-signed in 2020, nearly 15 years on from his transfer for Arsenal as a 16-year-old. He scored two goals in 24 appearances last season as the south coast club saw their 11-year spell in the Premier League come to an end.

Walcott, renowned for his blistering pace, calls time on a 23-year career that saw him represent Southampton, Arsenal and Everton as well scoring 80 goals in 397 Premier League appearances.

“The first moment I put my football boots on aged 10, was the start of a special journey for me,” Walcott said.

“From playing in the park with friends, to performing in some of the biggest stadiums, in front of huge crowds across the world.

“The support shown to me throughout this time, has been incredible in every way imaginable and I am truly grateful.

“I’ve shared the football pitch with so many incredible players and we have created so many unforgettable memories.

“I would like to say a big thank you to all the managers and coaches I’ve worked with, especially Harry (Redknapp) for giving me the start and Arsene (Wenger) for showing belief and support to me when I joined the club (Arsenal) at only 16 years old.”

On the international stage, Walcott earned 47 caps for England and scored eight goals. Notably, he was named in England’s squad for the 2006 World Cup at just 17 years old. He also became his country’s youngest-ever senior player when appearing in a 3-1 friendly win against Hungary in May 2006, aged 17 years and 75 days.

(Photo: Getty Images)

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