LONDON (Reuters) - Everton striker Theo Walcott said on Friday that he will be judged on his ability to score regularly for his new club.
The 28-year-old joined from Arsenal in a 20 million pound deal this week and is line to make his debut at home to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
“I just want to work hard to get in the team here. I’ll be judged on goals and I was pleased with my goals last season. That’s what I want to bring into this team: the goals, the assists.”
Walcott scored 19 goals last season, including 10 in the Premier League, but has become a peripheral figure this year, playing only 64 minutes off the bench despite Arsenal’s indifferent Premier League campaign.
Walcott was diplomatic about his lack of opportunity at a club he joined as a 16-year-old and refused to criticise his former manager Arsene Wenger.
“If you’re not playing you’re going to be upset,” he told a news conference. “For whatever reason it didn’t happen this year. That’s why I’ve moved on. I just want to work hard to get in the team here.”
Walcott said that reuniting with Sam Allardyce, who briefly managed him with England, was a major factor in choosing Everton.
“I felt the manager seems to get the best out of the players, especially when first coming in. I had a brief spell with the manager at England and I wanted more of that. That belief the manager had in bringing me here made my decision very easy.”
Walcott, who spoke to former England team mate Wayne Rooney before making the move, said his departure from Arsenal was so rushed he had to remove his possessions from the club’s training ground in bin bags at night, but hoped to return to the club where he spent 12 years to say goodbye properly.
“[To leave] was quite emotional for me. When I found I was coming here I had to go there at night and collect my stuff in big bags.
Allardyce underlined that he is looking to Walcott to provide the goals in a team that has lacked a cutting edge this season.
“He’s got goals. For us that’s a very important ingredient where we are short in terms of creating goals.”
“He wanted a fresh start. He’s exceptionally good from a wide position.”
Allardyce also said fullback Seamus Coleman, who broke his leg playing for the Republic of Ireland nine months ago, is back in training and pushing for a recall.
Reporting by Neil Robinson; Editing by Keith Weir