Theo Walcott: We're getting better but can still improve

Sunday 06 Sep 2015
Walcott bagged two after coming off the bench in Serravalle

Theo Walcott made an immediate impact for England in San Marino, scoring a brace in their 6-0 European Qualifying win.

The Arsenal forward replaced club-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with 23 minutes remaining in Serravalle and quickly found the back of the net.

But while he celebrated taking his Three Lions goal haul to seven in 41 appearances, it was helping England become the first nation to clinch a spot at Euro 2016 that was more important for Walcott.

San Marino 0-6 England

UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier
Saturday 5 September
San Marino Stadium, Serravalle
Match Stats

"It’s nice to get qualification out of the way and shows just how well we’ve done since the World Cup," he told FATV shortly after the game.

"The pitch wasn’t in the best conditions but we have to adapt. We can’t really use that as an excuse.

"We found it difficult but we did the right things. We wanted to play the football we wanted to play."

He continued: "There was always going to be a lot of time on the ball, but it was important not to put too much pressure on ourselves, and remain patient.

"This team is getting better and better but we can improve definitely going in to the tournament and we have a big test on Tuesday. It will be different to today."

Walcott’s first came just seconds after arriving from the bench as he tucked home a left-hand cross from Fabian Delph at the back post.

It added to Wayne Rooney’s penalty – a record-equalling 49th for England - an own goal from Cristian Brolli and Ross Barkley’s first for the Three Lions.

"I think it was [my first touch]," he said. "That’s always nice and you can often get those goals at the back post position. Hopefully there will be a lot more of those."

Theo Walcott and Jonjo Shelvey speak to FATV

Walcott’s second, following Harry Kane’s chipped finish, wrapped up the victory.

"It’s just one of those things, one of those finishes that if you hit it cleanly it might miss. But maybe the pitch did me a favour, I don’t know," he smiled.

"It’s nice to tuck it away, I saw Harry and it could have been an easy goal for him, but as a striker myself I was very confident I could get it in."

All in all, Walcott said that he and his team-mates were pleased to get the victory, which extends their 100 per cent record on the road to France, having not been together as a group for three months.

And the result will put Roy Hodgson’s side in good spirits for their second game this week when they welcome Switzerland to Wembley on Tuesday.

Another triumph there and England go to Euro 2016 as group winners.

Theo Walcott

Walcott now has seven goals from 41 appearances for England

"It’s always difficult when you are away from each other for a long time, but we had an extra day to train this week and everyone knows how it all works," explained Walcott.

"We blended well and have been working towards the Switzerland game as much as this one.

"Everyone has been on it in training and it shows the passion and winning mentality is there – that’s what we want in the dressing room."

He added: "The message now is that everyone has done the job we wanted to do.

"We were very professional and treated the game respectfully.

"Now it’s all about recovering and working towards the Switzerland game which will be a completely different test."

Tickets for England v Switzerland at Wembley on Tuesday are still available - click here to buy online

By Jamie Bradbury FA Editor In Serravalle, San Marino