Alan Shearer backs under-fire Walcott

17 March 2010 10:28

Alan Shearer insisted Theo Walcott deserves to go to the World Cup with England.

Walcott came in for strong criticism from former England winger Chris Waddle, which was supported by former national team boss Graham Taylor, following a disappointing performance in the friendly against Egypt earlier this month.

But Shearer told BBC Radio Five Live: "I would have thought that David Beckham would have gone to the World Cup, and I assume that if Aaron Lennon is fit and playing well he will be, so I think there's another place up for grabs. I would take Theo Walcott. I'm a fan of his."

Both Waddle and Taylor questioned Walcott's intelligence as a footballer, and his rate of progress, however former England captain Shearer takes a different view of the Arsenal forward.

And with David Beckham's Achilles injury ruling him out of contention, Shearer suggests Fabio Capello should look to Walcott and Tottenham's Aaron Lennon when he assesses his options for the right wing.

Shearer added: "I know he's been criticised for his final ball and his football brain but the future is very very bright for him."

Walcott turned 21 this week, and is best known as the player picked by Sven-Goran Eriksson for the last World Cup before he played a Premier League match.

He has shown good form only in flashes this season, but Shearer expected him to be part of Capello's plans even before bad luck struck Beckham.

"I would have thought he (Capello) might have used Theo Walcott as his fifth striker, and I would have said there would be no place for Carlton Cole," Shearer said. "I would have Rooney as one, and Crouch, Heskey and Defoe would be the others. I think there's another space there now.

"It still might be unlikely that Carlton Cole will go because in a way he is similar to Crouch and to Heskey, but because of David Beckham going he might use Theo Walcott as a right-hand side player now rather than straight up the middle."

Source: PA