Arsenal forward Theo Walcott has revealed he is keen to make an international impact on both the senior and junior fronts for England…
The 19-year-old was rewarded for his late-season form with the Gunners when he was selected by Fabio Capello for England’s upcoming friendlies against the United States and Trinidad & Tobago.
The former Southampton man will join England under-21 team-mates Tom Huddlestone, Joe Hart, David Wheater and Gabriel Agbonlahor in the 30-man squad that will face the USA at Wembley this week before travelling to Port of Spain.
Walcott put in a stunning performance for the under-21s against Wales only days after he was called up, and he believes the experience at senior level will prove invaluable for he and his fellow juniors as the 2009 European under-21 Championship approaches.
“It’s just good to play really,” Walcott said. “Maybe the experience we get with the seniors will help with the under-21s, because there’s quite a few of us from the under-21s in the seniors.
“Also, it gives us the opportunity to try to win the tournament as well, if there are senior-squad players still young enough to play for the under-21s who Stuart Pearce can call upon. We’ve still got to qualify [the play-offs are in October] but it’d be good to get the experience of winning a tournament under our belts.”
Walcott missed out on last year’s EURO under-21 tournament in the Netherlands after undergoing surgery on a troublesome shoulder.
The Three Lions succumbed in the semi-finals after a mammoth penalty shoot-out against the hosts, and Walcott hopes to go at least one better in Sweden next May.
He said: “I spoke to Stuart Pearce before the tournament last summer, when I was making the decision about my shoulder, and he said, ‘Get that sorted – your health comes first, so get yourself ready for next season’.
“I did feel so much better for it. I watched the semi-final with Holland and they were unlucky. Hopefully we can go one step better next time.”
Walcott added: “It’d be a dream come true, to play for England at Wembley this week. I know I probably won’t start but hopefully, if I work hard and train well, I can give the manager something to think about and, if I do come on, hopefully I will do well.”
And regarding the possibility of being selected for the 2010 World Cup, he said: “If I work hard and play well for Arsenal, then hopefully I’ll get my chance and why not?” (May 24,2008. Goal.com)