Walcott ready to become England flyer
Published : 16 Jun 2012 23:47:34
England winger Theo Walcott refutes the suggestion he "has not kicked on" since scoring a stunning hat-trick against Croatia four years ago in a 2010 World Cup qualifier in Zagreb.
But Walcott admits there is still "a lot more to come" from him six years after becoming England's youngest ever player at 17 years and 75 days old. The Arsenal player came off the bench against Sweden to score a second-half equaliser and lay on the winner for Danny Welbeck in a 3-2 success.
Walcott said: "People say I've not kicked on but, being only 23 and with 26 caps under my belt, I'd say it has not been too bad from my point of view. There is still a lot to come but at 23 I'm getting a bit more experienced and I'm featuring in this tournament as well. Hopefully there will be a lot more to come from me and I can keep clocking those caps up."
The Sweden game was his first taste of tournament football and now Roy Hodgson's side only need to avoid defeat against Ukraine in Donetsk on Tuesday to ensure a quarter-final spot.
Walcott went on: "The goals will always come. I've always had that. This season just gone, I've scored goals and had assists and that's what it is about as a winger. You are always judged on your stats like that."
Walcott says he will thrive on being involved against Ukraine, who will leapfrog above England if they win the game. But he feels England cannot afford to be negative and play for a share of the spoils even though they must improve on their defensive frailties against the Swedes.
Walcott said: "You want to play in the massive games. Everyone wants to play, everyone wants to do well. It will be tough. We need to make sure we do our defensive duties right and make sure we are strong. We need a draw to go through but we can't go into games looking for draws.
"It will be difficult. They are going to have all the support behind them as well. They've got nothing to lose, they need to win.
"The attacking play from us was great against Sweden so hopefully it will all come together and we can have a perfect performance."
Walcott has high hopes of his Gunners team-mate and fellow wide player in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who started against France on Monday and was a substitute against the Swedes. He said: "Alex has got four caps and he is clocking those up and at such a young age he is getting great experience at Arsenal which is very important."