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Rough justice! Theo Walcott axed from World Cup squad after failing to follow orders
Published : 02 Jun 2010 10:19:13
Theo Walcott was axed by FabioCapello for failing to follow orders in thewake of a public dressing down from theEngland manager. Having been the stunning inclusion for the WorldCup in Germany four years ago, Walcott wasyesterday the shock omission when Capellonamed his 23-man squad for South Africa. The Italian is thought to have lost patience with theArsenal winger after he failed to respond to instructionshe was given when the players sat through aDVD of last week's friendly against Mexico. Ouch: Theo Walcott was a shock omission from the England squad To the astonishment of the other squad members,Walcott was singled out for scathing criticismfrom Capello for the way he played againstthe Mexicans. Capello, it is understood, wantedthe 21-year-old to attack his full back on theoutside and then cross, but too often he turnedinside and lost possession. When Walcott then did the same against Japan, Capello decided he had nochoice but to opt for AaronLennon and Shaun Wright-Phillips as his quick wide men. Both were more impressive inGraz on Sunday, Capello evenignoring a slight concern overLennon's troublesome groin.The average age of the squadof 28.7 years is the highest inEngland history, beating the28.4 average in 1954. It is alsothe most experienced, with atotal of 900 caps at an averageof 39.1. The squad at Italia 90had 32.2 caps each on average. Poor form: Theo Walcott was unimpressive in the friendlies against Mexico and Japan Walcott, who was playing golfwhen he received the newsfrom Capello, was said to bedistraught last night, havingstarted for the Italian everytime he was available. Family and friends had alreadybooked flights and accommodationto support him and theside in South Africa. Walcott said: 'He (Capello)said he was sorry but I hadn'tmade the squad and I wouldn't be going to the World Cup. 'I wanted to ask him 'why'but I didn't get the chance. Hesaid I would be a big part of hisplans for the European Championshipsin 2012 and that wasit, really. Hazard ahead: Theo Walcott was playing a round of golf when Capello came calling 'It's hard for me to take just like it's hard for everyone who missed out. It's out of my control. There's nothing I can do about it now. 'At the last World Cup I was in the squad but I didn't get the chance to appear at all. This time, I thought I'd play a proper part. I thought I deserved my place. 'There's no point me sulking about it. I've just got to get on with it. 'I am very disappointed notto be included in the squadbut completely respect MrCapello's decision. I would liketo wish the team the best ofluck and hope they have areally successful tournament.' Stephen Warnock, as Sportsmailpredicted yesterday, wasthe shock inclusion in the23-man squad that will fly withCapello to South Africatonight. The Aston Villa leftback has played just six minutesfor England, against Trinidadand Tobago in June 2007.He took no part in the warm-upgames against Mexico andJapan, but he goes ahead ofEverton's Leighton Baines asunderstudy to Ashley Cole. Last night, Capello submittedhis party to FIFA withsquad numbers, to be publishedby the world governingbody on June 4. David James,as predicted on these pagesyesterday, gets the No 1 jersey,though FA insiders said it wasmore 'out of respect' to the 39-year-old than a clue as to whichgoalkeeper would start againstthe USA on Saturday week. It seems some players wereoffered the chance to choosetheir numbers. There was alsoa suggestion Peter Crouch mayyet be included in the first XI. JEFF POWELL: Immaculate Moore is the leader of my pack of England lionsTheo Walcott suited, then booted out: England's model pro goes from M&S to down and outMARTIN SAMUEL: How long before Fabio Capello deals a winning hand for England?How Arsenal star Theo Walcott tumbled from being the best to joining the rest WORLD CUP 2010: How Fabio Capello sparked a day of farce, drama and tweeting...