THEO WALCOTT has admitted he will “probably cry” when he makes his second debut for Southampton.
The former England winger first signed for the Saints aged 11 and returns on a deadline-day loan deal from Everton, 14 years after leaving the club.
On Monday night, his return was confirmed on a season-long loan deal.
Carlo Ancelotti had only handed the 31-year-old two outings this season and the Toffees’ rapid start to the season suggested further opportunities would be limited.
Southampton have taken the chance to add some extra experience to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s frontline.
Speaking after Southampton confirmed the deal, Walcott admitted to feeling the emotion of the moment.
He told the club website: “I had a few opportunities from other clubs, but as soon as Southampton came in for me, it’s part of me and has made me into the player I am. It’s in my heart.
“I will probably cry, I bet, when I first play, and it means so much. All the people that made it happen, I can’t thank them enough. Honestly, I’m so pleased.
“I was seriously lost for words when Southampton came on the table, and for me it was such an easy decision.
“To get the chance to work with the manager as well and these young players that are coming through, I feel like I’ve made the right choice.”
At 16 years and 143 days, Walcott became the club’s youngest-ever player when making his debut in August 2005.
The Berkshire-educated winger made 22 appearances for Saints before Arsenal snapped him up for an initial £5million, only six months after his debut.
That encouraged England boss Sven Goran Eriksson to make the bold, if ultimately unsuccessful move, of bringing Walcott to the 2006 World Cup.
After over a decade and two FA Cup wins at Arsenal, the winger left for Everton and he scored 11 goals in 85 games at Goodison Park.
And he will hope to make his second debut against Chelsea on October 17, with a St Mary’s return against Everton a week later.
Southampton boss Hasenhuttl said: “There is a lot of history between this club and Theo, so I know how special this will be for him and for our supporters.
“But what is most important to me is that we have signed a player who can help our squad and give us another strong option in our attack.
“Theo is someone who has all the qualities to fit well into our team and our style of play, and I know from speaking to him that he understands what we want and that he is excited to be a part of what we are doing here.
“His experience and influence will also be important for our young players. The idea is not to block their development, but for this to make it faster. From this professional they can learn and grow as players for the future of our club.”