Mums on the ball
By Linda Serck
Theo Walcott from Compton in Berkshire is an England star and Premiership footballer, but could the mother of the 18-year-old be harbouring some footballing skills of her own?
In the 1990s Lynn Walcott used to kick a ball around the garden with infant Theo at their Compton home, proudly raising him up to become a Premiership pro and future England hopeful. But could Lynn be harbouring a football talent of her own?
Sir Geoff Hurst poses with the Premiership mums
Lynn told BBC Berkshire about how she has recently been knocking a ball around with other mums of football aces in an FA-backed initiative called Mums On The Ball, which encourages mums to become children's football coaches.
"Women and particularly mothers do have some of the very natural qualities of teaching," says Lynn, "particularly for children starting out".
The mum of the 18-year-old Arsenal forward adds: "While men have the enthusiasm, drive and competitiveness, women bring something different in terms of having fun, organisation skills, communication and building children's confidence."
On the sidelines though proud Lynn, an independent midwife, has excitedly watched Theo's talent grow while playing for several Berkshire clubs, including AFC Newbury.
Lynn Walcott: 'I don't get nervous'.
And despite the teenager now being an England star and Premiership player, Lynn reveals Theo also still gets excited.
"When he arrived at San Siro Milan (Theo starred in Arsenal's 2-0 away victory over AC Milan), he was taking photos on his camera when he arrived.
"He was particularly excited to get (Brazilian player) Kaka's shirt after the game."
So with such talent in him, does she regard Theo as a normal 18-year-old?
"What's a normal 18-year-old?", Lynn asks. "He doesn't go out, he doesn't drink, doesn't go out partying. But normal in our family is a bit more about home entertainment, about being with each other, getting on with your work - so it's normal in that sense."
And even watching her teenage son stroll on to the pitch in front of thousands of fans is now fairly normal for Lynn.
"I don't get nervous," she says, "I think his dad does, I get quite excited and cheer him on and hope he does well."
And Lynn is level-headed enough not to panic at the prospect of her boy getting injured like Arsenal player Eduardo (who broke his leg during a tackle).
"I think his dad worries more," she says, "having played the game he knows what it's like getting kicked, whereas I don't tend to think of it like that!"
Mums On The Ball provides 160 free women's places on coaching courses across the UK.
Find out more about the initiative by clicking on the Be Active section of McDonalds' website:
last updated: 11/03/2008 at 12:08