Woodward: I could sense ‘greatness’ in young Bale and Walcott

Sir Clive Woodward says that he could sense "potential greatness" in Gareth Bale and Theo Walcott during his time at Southampton

theo walcott
Theo Walcott signed a new Arsenal contract last month Photo: Nike

theo walcott

Sir Clive Woodward says that he could sense “potential greatness” in Gareth Bale and Theo Walcott after watching them come through the youth ranks at Southampton.

England’s Rugby World Cup-winning coach Woodward worked at Southampton in 2005 and 2006, first as performance director and then as director of football.

Walcott moved to Arsenal in 2006, while Bale secured a transfer to their north London rivals Spurs the following year.

And Woodward claims that their talent was clearly evident from the days he watched them as 16-year-olds.

He told the Sun: “Whatever the sport, you can see potential greatness in individuals even when they are just kids. Gareth and Theo were just that, kids, when I was at St Mary’s but their quality was evident even then as 16-year-olds.

“Gareth was a flying left-back, Theo a striker or winger. They both had obvious talent and were very exciting to watch, and it helped them greatly to be part of a tremendous academy side.

“If you look at that squad, you’ll find players the vast majority of whom are in the Premier League or Championship today.”

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