Walcott out of Poland game

  • Last Updated: October 14 2012, 0:37 BST

Theo Walcott was sent back to Arsenal on Sunday with manager Roy Hodgson admitting it is not going to make him very popular with Arsene Wenger.

Theo Walcott: Injured against San Marino

Theo Walcott

14. Theo Walcott

Title Number
Appearances 17 (5)
Goals 7
Assists 5
Yellows 2
Reds 0
*Current Season

The Football Association have confirmed Walcott has been ruled out of Tuesday's trip to Poland after being clattered by San Marino goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini at Wembley on Friday night.

Hodgson labelled the challenge "brutal" and whilst the FA have confirmed Walcott has a chest injury, it will only be after his return to Arsenal that Wenger will discover if the winger is facing an extended period on the sidelines.

Wenger has never been a particular fan of the international game, it is not hard to imagine what his reaction will be to losing one of his players in a game many feel was pointless anyway.

And as the England boss acknowledged, it was an unhappy postscript to an otherwise decent evening.

"It was a particularly brutal challenge on Theo that has caused him quite a considerable injury," said Hodgson.

"It's never very satisfying as a national coach when a player who has been on international duty has to go back to his club with a serious injury."

If Walcott is not Hodgson's concern now, the England boss will be eager to discover on Sunday whether Frank Lampard's knee injury has responded to treatment sufficiently to allow him to be considered for Tuesday's crucial trip to Poland.

With Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson back from suspension, Joleon Lescott, James Milner and Jermain Defoe no longer excused as they are one match away from a ban, and no need to play safe with Ashley Cole's ankle injury, it could be a very different England side on show in Warsaw.

Yet, as hard as it appeared in a game so one-sided, Hodgson claimed to also have learned valuable lessons at Wembley.

"The passing of Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley was outstanding," he said.

"I did tell the players before the game there would be mistakes because they were going to have so much of the ball, make so many passes, go on so many dribbles.

"From the very first minute we tried to play a certain way and ended it in the 96th doing exactly the same thing."

Understandably given his status, the fact he was captain and also leapt into fifth spot in the list of all-time English goalscorers, Wayne Rooney was centre of attention.

However, another pleasing contribution from Danny Welbeck should not be obscured. The 21-year-old has now scored four goals in 12 appearances.

His first effort on Friday night proved the impudent Euro 2012 match-winner against Sweden in Kiev was no fluke.

And though he can no longer regard himself as an automatic choice at Manchester United following the arrival of Robin van Persie, Welbeck's value to the England cause cannot be understated.

"Welbeck has handled it very well," said Hodgson. "If not a surprise selection, he wasn't on everyone's lips when I took him to the Euros.

"Since that time he has to fight very hard to get a place in the Manchester United team because the quality of competition up there is so great.

"But he learning, and improving all the time."

And it seems he is not alone. Jack Butland, Jack Rodwell, Raheem Sterling and Steven Caulker were amongst those on Under-21 duty against Serbia who already have some level of exposure at senior level.

Arsenal pair Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs have been identified as internationals of the future.

Jonjo Shelvey made his debut as a second-half substitute at Wembley, whilst Jack Wilshere, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are also likely to have extended their international experience before the March double-header that includes trips to San Marino and Montenegro.

"I am encouraged by the fact that when I go to watch games I see players like the two full-backs at Arsenal doing extremely well," said Hodgson.

"I see Wilshere back playing some football. I heard Smalling is back in training and Jones is not too far away.

"There are a few reasons to look optimistically to the future. We have a tough game coming up on Tuesday.

"Let's hope we can come back from there with something in our pockets, then we'll have a bit of time to see how these players develop and how many are available by the time next March comes around."


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