Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger have the player a subtle but nonetheless public ultimatum by leaving the Englishman on the bench so most of this season.
Whilst Wenger dismissed claims that his team selection was not influenced by Walcott’s rebellion, one can only ascertain from the timing that is indeed the reason for his consistent exclusion.
Wenger said: “Let’s hope we can find a solution in the next two months but the fact he doesn’t play regularly at the moment is right, but it’s not necessarily linked with his contract situation.”
Necessarily, I would suggest it is linked – the Arsenal manager is perhaps growing weary of being ‘held to ransom’ by want away players. The last two summers have seen the departure of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy, Alex Song, and Robin van Persie - players whose careers benefitted substantially from the faith shown in them by their former manager.
It appears the buck stops here, though, as Walcott has been overlooked in favour of England teammate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho, Podolski, and even Aaron Ramsey who have all been utilized in his position this season.
But will the manager’s reluctance to include him effect his ability to force his way in to the England first team? Roy Hodgson watched Arsenal’s Champion’s League game at the Emirates where they beat Olympiakos 3-1. But Hodgson may well have been there to watch youngster Oxlade-Chamberlain who started the game ahead of Walcott.
The 18-year-old transferred to Arsenal last season from Walcott’s former club Southampton, and has since usurped Walcott as one of England’s brightest young stars.
Walcott, now 23 years of age, appeared from the bench in all of his appearances at Euro 2012, where his Arsenal teammate had looked to be the most exciting future prospect for his country.
Players who don’t play regularly for their clubs are seldom picked for the national side and with England’s imminent World Cup 2014 qualifiers just a few months away, Walcott may find himself on the bench for his country.
Aaron Lennon has been called up, which suggests Hodgson is certainly considering other options. Walcott may be looking to the future with his contract, but he has to be careful he doesn't let the present slip away while doing so.