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Ex-Southampton boss Redknapp defends Arsenal winger Walcott

Former Southampton boss Harry Redknapp has hit back at the critics of Arsenal winger Theo Walcott.

Redknapp wrote in his book, 'Always Managing: My Autobiography by Harry Redknapp', which is being serialised in the Daily Mail: "Theo played his first game for me on August 6, 2005, as a 73rd-minute sub against Wolves. He was only 16 but we knew he was going all the way. His first start was at Leeds and it was Dave Bassett's idea to play him through the middle as a striker.

"He had always been a wide player and that was where I was going to use him but Dave fancied him against their central defenders and he was right. Theo was so good it was frightening.

"People talk about him as if he hasn't got the football brain of a top player but I think he's a very clever runner off the ball. He killed us with Arsenal in my last season at Tottenham by bending his run and I think he is a player who knows precisely what he is about.

"His final ball is sometimes not the best but that can happen with a player who is exceptionally fast.

"Every left back knows he is in for a game against him because he is so lightning quick."

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