Walcott: Identity is growing


Having scored his first goal of the season in the 3-3 draw with Tottenham, winger Theo Walcott is encouraged by Southampton’s growing identity under Rubén Sellés.

Trailing 3-1 with 15 minutes remaining, Walcott backed up his assist for Ché Adams’s 10th of the season to reduce the deficit, before James Ward-Prowse’s stoppage time penalty earned a point for the hosts.

Commenting on the point and the performance, the 34-year-old took plenty of positives.

“I thought 3-1 was flattering for Tottenham, to be honest. When they went 3-1 up we got together and we said a few things and maybe that one moment changed the whole dynamic of the team, which was to make sure we didn’t change our identity how we played.

“We were actually playing pretty well up to that point even though we were losing. It shows that there’s character in this team at the moment and learning on the job, to be fair, because there’s a lot of young guys, but today was a different sort of team.

“I saw a different team out there, a team that’s starting to grow and have an identity that Rubén’s trying to bring to us and he’s been a really good man for the whole squad, definitely.

“A lot of clear messages and I think that’s very important because there’s been a lot of change. Different manager changes, a lot of things that have been happening, different personnel but I feel like now we have a pattern, and a way, and a system of how we want to play.

“Clarity, that’s all players need, clarity in how they want to perform in a game. Playing to players’ strengths, which is really important and we probably had gone away from that, not really thinking about certain players’ strengths and its starting to come out, even guys who are not involved, players who are missing out on the squad.

"We’re all together and it shows that we have a good bunch in that dressing room, they want to play, of course they do, but players who aren’t even playing a minute are still with the team training every day, people don’t see it, they’re training, want to work hard, want to help and that’s the support we need and what it means to play for Southampton. I think now we have players in the team who know what it means to play for Southampton Football Club and its starting to come out in everyone I feel.

"We stuck with our identity and what we wanted to do in the game and that showed and we got our reward in the end. Felt like we did deserve something out of the game. Disappointed with the goals we conceded, some sloppy goals, but hats off to the lads because to comeback against a so-called top four team shows we’ve got a lot in that dressing room."