Theo Walcott said he felt « like a kid again » after scoring his first goal since returning to Southampton in the Premier League draw at Wolves.
Walcott, 31, made his return to Saints on loan from Everton in October after leaving for Arsenal at the age of 16 in 2006.
And he brought Ralph Hasenhuttl in the 58. Minute at Molineux on Monday and turned Che Adams’ cross.
It wasn’t enough to claim a win that would have put Saints in third place, however, as Pedro Neto equalized 15 minutes from time after Raul Jiminez’s shot returned from the post.
Southampton are still fifth, however, and Walcott wants to help them « do something this season ». .
« I’ll do whatever. I feel like the manager has confidence in me, « he said.
« I don’t remember [my final goal in the League of Saints]. The smile on my face says it all. The club is very important to me.
« I feel like a kid again – I feel very fit. It means a lot to play at the highest level for so long. I just love to play soccer. «
Walcott and Southampton, unbeaten in the last seven games, may have had an even more memorable evening if the striker had seized a great opportunity to make it 2-0.
But a draw was nothing more than Wolves – who moved up three places to ninth place – who had earned a significantly improved attack performance in the final phase.
With top scorer Danny Ings out with a knee injury, the burden of replacing his goals at Southampton rests with Adams and Walcott.
There are signs that Walcott, whose first taste of senior football came against the Wolves as a 16-year-old, is slowly returning to familiar ground.
Excellent in Southampton’s last game – a 2-0 win over Newcastle – he was the focus of attention at Molineux. He had already threatened to score from Stuart Armstrong’s clever pass before reacting quickly to turn Adams’ driven cross and bring his side forward.
It was his first goal for the club since his FA Cup goal on Jan.. January 2006 – before joining Arsenal – and his celebration seemed like a mixture of exhilaration and relief.
His feelings also showed when he seemed angry at himself for failing to make the 2-0 Adam’s fine pass.
Since only goalkeeper Rui Patricio could be beaten, he seemed deterred by a chasing defender and shot his shot far.
After Captain Conor Coady’s ubiquitous streak of 84 Premier League games came to an end – the defender is isolated after coming into contact with someone with Covid-19 – the Wolves deployed an unfamiliar back four.
The center-back partnership between Max Kilman and Willy Boly provided Nuno Espirito Santo’s team with a relatively solid base, as the visitors initially controlled the process.
They were also well shielded by Ruben Neves and Leander Dendoncker, with the former scoring the most gaps (four) and the latter covering the largest floor of any home player (11). 12 km).
But for all these admirable traits, there was a definite lack of sharpness in their attacking play until they fell behind.
While Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy was well positioned to save Nelson Semedo’s long-range shot and Dendoncker’s attempt at replacement early on, he was largely unconcerned until the hosts had to respond to a deficit.
Jimenez, who was isolated and had the fewest number of touches of any home player to start the game, was slowly becoming more engaged.
And it was his stabbing drive that led to the equalizer, while goalscorers Neto and Daniel Podence made good openings in the second half.
Probably the biggest disappointment for Nuno and Wolves fans is that their indictment came too late.
Ralph Hasenhuttl, Southampton Manager, BBC Sport: « We had a chance, they had a chance. We had a chance to make it 2-0. If you score, they’ll have a hard time coming back.
« You are a really good site with quality. It’s hard to defend for 90 minutes – you can’t play without giving them chances. I am proud of the team. That was one of our most intense gigs of the season. «
To Theo Walcott: « It was a good first goal for him. He’s a little unhappy that he didn’t make the second and that he can’t be the match winner. The way he works for the team is amazing. As a number 10 or a striker, you can trust him.
« He’s a seasoned guy returning to the club he grew up in. It means something to him. Maybe that’s why he invests so much. You know you have to do that on our team. «
Wolves boss Nuno to BBC Sport: « It was a good game. Both teams played at a fast pace.
« You have very good players and a very good manager. We brought them together. We finished the game on the forefoot. I am very proud of the response to the target. «
When asked if there was a foul leading up to Southampton’s goal: « I think so. After that, it was a matter of responding to that incident and trying to distract us from the referee’s decision and focus on the game. The boys did that. It was a strong reaction. We finished the game well and created opportunities. Let’s go again. «
To the fans returning: « We all wish it was tomorrow. We have a tremendous desire to have the fans back. It’s all about them. Let’s try our best to bring them back. «
Wolves travel on Sunday the 29th. November (7:15 pm GMT) for their next Premier League game to Arsenal, while Southampton host Manchester United on the same day (2:00 pm).
Attempt blocked. Daniel Podence (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Prepared by Raul Jimenez.
attempt saved. Pedro Neto (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved by the goalkeeper. Prepared by Raul Jimenez.
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Wolverhampton Wanderers F. . C.. . , Southampton F. . C.. . , Premier League, Theo Walcott, Nuno Espírito Santo, Pedro Neto
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