Wenger confident about Walcott

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:40 IST

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes 17-year-old Theo Walcott can be England's secret weapon at the World Cup.

Wenger confident about Walcott

London:

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes 17-year-old Theo Walcott can be England's secret weapon at the World Cup. Walcott was the surprise inclusion in Sven-Goran Eriksson's squad. He has yet to play in a Premier League game for the Gunners, who have left him out of next week's Champions League final against Barcelona. The young striker is going to Portugal for England's pre-World Cup training, and Wenger believes he will be England's surprise package in Germany as a speedy, goalscoring substitute. "The guy will certainly be on the bench and come on when England doesn't manage to score,'' Wenger told reporters on Thursday. "On the one side, you wish he doesn't come on too much because that means it's going well for England. "But he can be an interesting weapon to come on because he can play wide and central. He has good pace and, if England should find him, once he's in front of a defender you can be sure nobody can catch him.'' Wenger signed Walcott from Southampton in the January transfer window but kept him on the sidelines. "I was never in situation where I could afford to take any risks,'' said the Arsenal manager. "In every game we were in a desperate need for points. We were eight points behind Tottenham and we were playing in the Champions League where it was always direct knockout situations.'' Already Walcott is being compared to Wayne Rooney. "He is not ready yet to say that he's a Rooney,'' said Wenger, who recalled how Rooney scored a long-range winner for Everton as a 16-year-old to end Arsenal's 30-game unbeaten record in 2002. (AP)

Topics : Football
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