Three-time FA Cup winner Theo Walcott insists its “complete rubbish” to say that players don’t care about the competition anymore.
Arsenal will be aiming to extend their record number of wins in the competition when they take on Chelsea at Wembley tomorrow.
Once regarded as the most prestigious tournament in England, the FA Cup seems to have lost it’s appeal in recent seasons. Managers have taken to the FA Cup to rotate their squad and give opportunities to the younger players.
Liverpool were knocked out by Chelsea in the fifth round this season, as Jurgen Klopp shuffled his pack to cope with fixture congestion. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did the same as his Man United side were brushed aside by Chelsea in the semi-finals.
Regardless of how coaches now see the competition, ex-Arsenal winger Walcott is adamant that the romance of the competition is still very much alive.
The 31-year-old, now of Everton, told Talksport of his fondest memories with the Gunners: “Being an English player it was always been a dream to play in the FA Cup, let alone win it three times.”
“People say the love of the FA Cup is not there anymore, but that’s complete rubbish in my opinion, it’s a cup that every player looks back on and wants to win.”
“I’m one of the lucky players to have won it, and there are guys in the Everton dressing room who would bite off my hand to be in the a same situation.”
“Just looking back at all my shirts, not many players swap shirts anymore but I’ve obviously been around a long time and I look back at the 2005 and 2006 shirts, I’ve got a shirt from Leighton Baines that I managed to get him sign, little things like that mean so much to me.”
“They might not mean much to anybody else, that’s fine, but I can show these to my kids, the medals as well, that’s what it’s about.”
“The memories will always stick with me, scoring a goal in an FA Cup final and winning it with such class [beating Aston Villa 4-0 in 2015], scoring in the Carling Cup final as well, you ask any kid and that’s what they want to do.”