Premier League Theo Walcott retires from football ending 18-year career

Former Arsenal star Theo Walcott has announced his retirement from football after 18 years – months after leaving Southampton.

Now aged 34, Walcott left the Saints at the end of last season following the South Coast club’s relegation from the Premier League. He had been in training with League One side Reading but has now decided to hang up his boots and end his senior career, which spanned almost two decades.

Walcott, who scored more than 100 goals for Arsenal and won 47 England caps, had been linked with a move to Bournemouth and League One outfit Reading earlier this summer.

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Walcott was born in Stanmore, London but spent his childhood in Berkshire with his first breakthrough in football seeing him join Newbury before being signed by Swindon Town, aged 11. He spent only six months there before leaving for Southampton after he rejected a chance to join Chelsea.

The forward’s rise to prominence was rapid, signing a sponsorship agreement with manufacturer Nike, aged just 14, and starring for the Saints youth team that reached the FA Youth Cup final. He became the club’s youngest-ever reserve player at 15 and the following year, was promoted to the first-team squad.

Walcott, who scored 129 goals in all competitions, spent the majority of his career in north London at Arsenal after joining the club in January 2006 aged 16 from Southampton for an initial £5m rising to £12m. He became the Three Lions’ youngest player at the age of 17 years and 75 days when he appeared in a friendly win over Hungary in May 2006.

Dennis Mabuka

Dennis Mabuka is a seasoned Kenyan journalist with 18 years of experience covering sports events. He is currently a sport content creator with

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