It's time to continue the countdown to the unveiling of our Player of the Season - as voted by the fans.

In third place is Theo Walcott. The England forward topped the goals and assists charts in 2012/13 and received 12.7 per cent of the votes in our poll.

News editor Chris Harris gives his verdict on the 24-year-old.

"Theo! No end product!!"

Whether you watch Arsenal at Emirates Stadium, at your local bar or on the sofa, you've probably heard that charge levelled at Theo Walcott before.

Well, how about this for end product? Twenty-one goals, 16 assists, two hat-tricks, a hat-trick of assists and strikes against Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham.

In December and January, with speculation over Walcott's situation at its most intense, the man himself performed as if he had not a care in the world

Whichever way you look at it, Walcott delivered in 2012/13. His maturity off the pitch has never been in question but now he has grown up on the field too.

At 24, that is not a huge surprise. Always eager to listen and learn, experience has helped Walcott channel his major asset - his pace - and improve his decision-making. A string of assists for Robin van Persie last year hinted at a better final ball. This season's numbers rubber-stamped it.

Topping the goals and assists charts is a feather in Walcott's cap, not least because he spent the first few months of the season on the fringes of the first team.

There were highlights during that spell, notably a hat-trick of goals and assists in a 7-5 thriller at Reading. But uncertainty over Walcott's future - he had yet to sign a new contract - prompted Arsène Wenger to use the England international sparingly until the north London derby.

Walcott scored in that 5-2 win over Tottenham (not to be confused with that other 5-2 win) and he never looked back.

In December and January, with speculation over Walcott's situation at its most intense, the man himself performed as if he had not a care in the world.

Take the final game of 2012, against Newcastle, probably the apex of Walcott's season. He scored another hat-trick but it was the nature of the goals that spoke volumes for the 24-year-old's improvement.

The second was all about quick feet and composure in a tight space inside the area. The third showcased Walcott's strength, determination and ability to beat a man - as well as another nonchalant finish. All attributes that critics once doubted he had.

"It’s unbelievable," said Wenger. "I believe what this season shows is the remarkable evolution of Theo Walcott. He’s a complete player today and his transformation is absolutely sensational.

“He improves every week and it shows that he is remarkably intelligent as well, because he understands things quickly, takes them on board and is open-minded. That’s why I believe he is always improving."

Walcott's first goal in that 7-3 win against Newcastle had shades of Thierry Henry - a sprint in behind the defence and an unerring finish from the left channel.

Henry has taught Walcott a thing or two since the latter arrived, awestruck, from Southampton in January 2006. And, in flashes during the winter, Walcott was as unplayable as his mentor used to be.

It's dangerous to make such comparisons, of course. One journalist summed it up nicely at a pre-match press conference, asking Wenger if Walcott was like Henry. His next question? "Arsène, is it unfair to compare Walcott with Henry?"

You certainly remember him when he arrived - in front of goal, the ball could go anywhere. Now you see every time he hits the target. He forces the keeper into a save. That's why his numbers are so much better

Arsène Wenger

Walcott finally chose to 'sign da ting' (as Lukas Podolski had implored him) in January and, ironically, the goals dried up shortly afterwards. But he delivered again when Arsenal needed him most with three goals in the final four matches as fourth place was secured.

With 21 in all competitions, you might have thought Walcott had been granted his wish to play through the middle. But although he showed he could thrive in that role - especially away from home when opponents don't sit so deep - the lion's share of his starts came on the right.

The difference in 2012/13 was Walcott's positioning. Although nominally a right winger, he drifted inside to take up central positions whether latching onto through balls (QPR away, for example) or meeting crosses (Reading at home).

"He's more mature in his finishing,” noted Wenger. "You certainly remember him when he arrived - in front of goal, the ball could go anywhere. Now you see every time he hits the target. He forces the keeper into a save. That's why his numbers are so much better."

So what's next for Theo? More of a leadership role, probably. At 24 and with more than 250 games under his belt, the younger elements of Wenger's squad already look up to him. Walcott seems ready to accept that mantle.

"We have definitely been too quiet in the past, we have been afraid to tell each other what to do at times but we do that now," he said. "It is not about having a go at each other, it is speaking out when it is needed.”

It looks like we can expect a more vocal Walcott next season. And plenty more 'end-product' of course.

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 29 May 2013