Everton forward Theo Walcott is delighted to have reached the 300-game milestone in the Premier League after more than a decade
Walcott first rose to prominence in English football in 2006 after starring for Southampton in the Championship at the age of just 17 years old.
The teenager’s impressive outings at St Mary’s soon caught the attention of the big clubs with Arsenal beating Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool to Walcott’s signature for £5m in January 2006.
Walcott then made his Premier League debut as a substitute in Arsenal’s opening day draw of the 2006/07 season, where he set up Gilberto Silva’s equaliser to spare the Gunners of defeat in their first league game at the new Emirates Stadium.
Since then, the now-Everton star has gone on to manage 71 goals and 54 assists in the Premier League.
“As a personal achievement, it’s fantastic,” Walcott told the Premier League website.
“A lot’s changed up until now – a new football club as well – and I couldn’t have dreamt this from day one.”
During his early days at Arsenal, Walcott’s speed was a notable aspect of his game with observers going as far as stating that he was even faster than the Gunners captain and star man Thierry Henry.
12 years later, however, and a Walcott who will turn 30 in March now admits that things have changed since then.
“The Premier League has got better,” admitted the 29-year-old.
“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.”
Out of all his 71 league goals, the one that Walcott is most proud of comes from 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,” said Walcott.
“I wound him up about that quite a few times when he joined the club [Arsenal].”