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Arsenal's Walcott likened to Man Utd legend Best by former junior coach

Southampton youth coach Andy Ritchie has recalled when he first saw Arsenal star Theo Walcott.

He told the Observer: "The first time I heard about Theo was when he trialled at Southampton. The U13s had just played Chelsea and we won 5-2. That was unusual; we rarely scored that many against Chelsea. Then my friend told me that this young lad called Theo Walcott had scored three. He hadn't even signed for us yet.

"I've worked in football for 17 years at Crystal Palace, Charlton, Chelsea and Southampton and I've never met a boy like him, even at Chelsea where John Terry was in my youth team. As soon as I saw Theo play he just looked so natural.

"It's something you can't teach. Like that run he made against Liverpool in the Champions League; it was George Best all over - riding scything tackles, he just kept going. To have someone like that in your team as a coach… oh, you're very lucky."

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