Sven picks ex-southampton 17 year old Theo Walcott :)

"Theo Walcott has emerged as the frontrunner to replace Wayne Rooney at the World Cup - even though he has not made a senior appearance for Arsenal.

The Gunners' teenage sensation is expected to be named in Sven Goran Eriksson's initial 27-man party for Germany at 2.30pm on Monday.

Rooney and Michael Owen will both be included despite injuries, but should either fail to make it to Germany, the England coach looks set to pin his faith in 17-year-old Walcott.

And while his inclusion would come as a major surprise, The People's Paul McCarthy has revealed that Eriksson has had one eye on the teenager long before Rooney broke his metatarsal against Chelsea or Owen suffered a setback in his recovery from a similar problem.

"It's just an incredible rise really, " he told Sky Sports News. "It's been absolutely phenomenal.

"It doesn't really seem to matter that he's not played for the first team. Sven Goran Eriksson and Tord Grip have probably seen Walcott more than they've seen any other England player in the last six or seven weeks.

"Sven has been to the Arsenal training ground three times, Tord Grip has been there and they've both spoken to Arsene Wenger about him. And Arsene Wenger is absolutely astonished at just how good Walcott is."

Walcott's inclusion will draw comparisons with Owen's own call-up to the 1998 finals in France, after just one full season in the Premiership.

Owen had far more experience under his belt than the former Southampton striker, but McCarthy has told the nation that Walcott is already a better prospect - and more than ready to play on the biggest stage of all and emulate Owen's heroics in France.

"What you'll find with Walcott is that what he gives you more than anything else, is pace," he said. "Pace and a lack of a fear, a lack of nerves. He takes everything in his stride.

"He's been training with the Arsenal first-team squad since the day he arrived, before he turned 17, so he's not going to be fazed. I've met him a couple of times and I was blown away by the maturity he showed was absolutely astonishing, the level-headedness for someone that young.

"Owen had scored a senior goal for Liverpool (before the 1998 World Cup), but what Arsene Wenger has been telling Sven Goran Eriksson is that technically Walcott is a better all-round player than him.

"He's not just a central striker, he can cover both positions out wide and I expect him to be named on stand-by, but I cannot see him being fazed. It would be astonishing if he went into the full squad... but stranger things have happened."

He's picked a 17 year old kid who hs never played first team football for arsenal or since he was sold in Jan by my beloved this has to be the shock of the world cup!!!!

a bleedin good one though!!!

they say he's faster than theirry Henry
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Its hard to believe he'd play any.

If Owen is out, and Rooney will be out, maybe they should revert to a 4-5-1, or more likely, a 4-3-2-1, with Crouch playing the target man, Gerrard and Lampard in the attacking midfield, Beckham and Cole on the wings, and Carrick in the holding position.
I dont know, but he's only picked four strikers, but hey?, as a Saints fan I'm not bothered, Crouchie, Bridger and Walcott, I think the last two alone (along with of course Alan Shearer, MLT, Gazza and Timmy Flowers) give an outstanding example of the quality that runs through the Southampton Youth teams

funny, as soon as Clive Woodward came to southampton he said it was "terrible", cant be that bad if a small side like the saints can produce players like that now can it.

(personally, I think he'll play him, he obviously rates Wenger's opinion very highly, and if youve seen Walcott play, you'll understand he's like no english striker you've ever seen....he out paces Henry!!)
Aaron Lennon and Scott Carson are also in England's World Cup squad -

England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson admitted he only decided on Monday morning to name 17-year-old Arsenal forward Theo Walcott in his provisional 23-man World Cup squad.

Eriksson has included Walcott, who has yet to make a Premiership appearance for Arsenal, in his squad alongside Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney and Aaron Lennon - but there are no places for Ledley King, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Jermaine Defoe or Darren Bent.

Walcott has not played first-team football since his 12m move from Southampton in January but is regarded as one of the hottest talents in the game and Eriksson has decided to include him in his squad.

Eriksson admitted he was taking a gamble and when asked when he made up his mind about Walcott he said: "Finally this morning. I thought a lot about it during the last month.

"It is a gamble, of course it is a gamble I can't deny that but it is a nice one.

"He is a great talent. I have 23 players, why not take one gambling?''

Manchester United forward Rooney's broken metatarsal is expected to rule him out of the start of the tournament but Eriksson decided to gamble on his talisman's fitness as expected.

Owen's prolonged recovery from a similar injury has severely limited his match practice and he will head to the finals having played only 31 minutes for his club since December 31.

The tournament begins in Germany in 32 days with England's first match against Paraguay a day later on June 10.

Goalkeeper Scott Carson, Charlton right-back Luke Young, Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe, West Ham captain Nigel Reo-Coker and Crystal Palace forward Andrew Johnson have been named on Eriksson's standby list.

Eriksson will submit his final squad next Monday.

Lennon has enjoyed an excellent first season in the Premiership since joining Tottenham from Leeds in the summer with his explosive skills and developing maturity.

Wright-Phillips has been left out after a disappointing season which has seen his first-team opportunities limited since joining Chelsea from Manchester City last season.

Downing's inclusion rounds off a turbulent season for the left-winger which has been largely marred by injury, before his return to fitness which culminates on Wednesday when Middlesbrough face Sevilla in the UEFA Cup final.

King is struggling to recover from injury - also a fractured metatarsal - while Defoe has spent much of the season on the bench for Tottenham.

Eriksson admitted selecting Walcott is a bold move.

"It's a big gamble, I know it is. I am excited to see him, he's a big talent. And pace in football today is worth a lot.

"I spoke to Arsene Wenger (Arsenal manager) and he's excited as well, very much so.

"For me it's a good squad, an interesting squad. There are some new players, some young players and it is an attacking squad with a lot of pace which is necessary in a World Cup.''

Asked how he decided on his selection, in particular leaving out the likes of Bent and Defoe, Eriksson said: "Probably not too logically, sometimes you do it on feelings as well and I am excited about Theo Walcott.

"It would be absolutely crazy if I didn't pick Rooney when there is still a possibility he can play in the World Cup.''

England's Squad

Paul Robinson
David James
Robert Green

Gary Neville
Rio Ferdinand
John Terry
Ashley Cole
Sol Campbell
Jamie Carragher
Wayne Bridge

David Beckham
Michael Carrick
Frank Lampard
Steven Gerrard
Owen Hargreaves
Jermaine Jenas
Stewart Downing
Joe Cole
Aaron Lennon

Wayne Rooney
Michael Owen
Peter Crouch
Theo Walcott

Scott Carson
Luke Young
Nigel Reo-Coker
Jermain Defoe
Andy Johnson (external - login to view)
I think this might explain a few things blackleaf:


to be honest with ya Blackleaf, I want Bridge and Crouch to do well....cus I'm a saints fan (obviously Theo too)

But THIS is the real shock

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