Former Arsenal and England player, Theo Walcott has announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 34.
The ex-Everton and Southampton winger told Gary Neville on The Overlap podcast the decision is “scary” but he “wants to try new things”.
Walcott hangs up his boots following a 23-year career in which he made 397 Premier League appearances.
“I’m officially going to be hanging up my boots. It’s very scary, I can’t lie,” said Walcott.
“It’s scary because football’s all I’ve known from the age of 16 or even younger. I want to try new things I never experienced as a kid, I missed out on a lot.
“I just feel like I want to experience life, things revolve around football for me.”
In his 13-year spell with the Gunners, Walcott won three FA Cups as well as two Community Shields.
He entered limelight in 2006 as a 17-year-old when he was surprisingly selected in Sven Goran Eriksson’s England World Cup squad.
Walcott appeared 47 times for England, scoring eight times in a decade-long international career.
Walcott, who was a free agent but made 20 Premier League appearances and scored three goals for Southampton last season as the club suffered relegation, says he received offers from various clubs to keep playing but his “heart isn’t committed” to it.
“I’ve had offers abroad and from some very good Championship teams. There’s been some Saudi offers but it’s not where I see myself playing, to be honest,” said Walcott.
“Nothing against the money or the league but if my heart isn’t into playing football it’s not fair on the clubs, not fair on me.”
Walcott played for Newbury and Swindon Town as a youngster before being signed by Southampton in 2000.
He made his debut for the Saints in 2005 as a 16-year-old and soon became the club’s youngest ever goal scorer when he found the net against Leeds United.
Walcott made 21 appearances and scored four goals for Saints before joining Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal in 2006.
He played 397 games for the Gunners, scoring 108 goals, before departing for Everton in a £20m deal in 2019.
Walcott played 85 games for the Toffees, scoring 11 times, before re-joining Southampton two years later.
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