Walcott's calf woe
12 Jun 2006 - 08:42:36
England's teenage striker Theo Walcott has suffered a calf injury in training but is expected to be fit enough to be available for selection on Thursday when Sven-Goran Eriksson's side face Trinidad & Tobago in Nuremberg.
The 17-year-old had to have his leg strapped up to add to Eriksson's striking woes.
The Swede brought off Michael Owen early in the second half after the Newcastle United striker failed to impress in the 1-0 win against Paraguay while Wayne Rooney is still recovering from his metatarsal injury.
That currently leaves Peter Crouch as England's only fully-fit senior striker and he faces a disciplinary tightrope after being booked on Saturday.
Many pundits were surprised that Eriksson opted to bring on Stewart Downing for Owen rather than introduce Walcott, and the Swede admitted: "We thought about it, but it was the first game in the World Cup.
"Let's have more training, let's go on with the World Cup a little bit.
"I think it is a big responsibility to start or to come on in the first game of the World Cup."
However, former England striker Alan Shearer disagrees with Eriksson's decision, telling The Times: "The logical thing to have done would have been to throw Walcott on - we know he has pace which is something defenders hate - but how do you make that judgment when no-one has seen him play or knows what he can or can't do?
"Why take him to the tournament if you're not going to put him on? He's either ready or he isn't.
"If I was in his shoes, or had been sent home like Jermain Defoe or left out like Darren Bent, I'd be thinking 'Hang on, the manager's got a midfielder playing off the centre forward.' It seems strange to me and it does look like a gamble now Peter Crouch is halfway towards a suspension."