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The Sport Matrix: Tuesday 7 January 2014

Ruptured ligament rules Walcott out of World Cup

Arsenal and England were last night devastated by the news that Theo Walcott will miss the rest of the season, and the World Cup, with a ruptured knee ligament.

Walcott was smiling as he was carried off during Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat of Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday evening but while initial reports suggested the forward had only sprained ligaments, the diagnosis disclosed by Arsenal last night was far worse.

“The club regrettably announces that Theo Walcott has sustained a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee,” read a statement on the official Arsenal website. “Theo will have surgery in London in the near future and is expected to be out for at least six months, therefore missing the remainder of the season and the World Cup in Brazil.”

The news is a blow to Roy Hodgson and England’s World Cup preparations. Walcott would have been a likely starter on the right wing. The 24-year-old is also a key member of Arsenal’s title-chasing squad. Without him, Arsène Wenger may have to dip into the transfer market this month. MORE

Moyes won’t rush into panic buys

Manchester United are prepared for the fact that they may not make any signings during January despite their struggles so far this season, with the club refusing to compromise by making stop-gap acquisitions. David Moyes may wait until the summer to strengthen. MORE

Allardyce backed in ‘impossible job’

The West Ham co-chairmen, David Gold and David Sullivan, described the demands faced by manager Sam Allardyce in dealing with three games in seven days as a “near impossible task”. It was not, though, a resounding endorsement of Allardyce.

Holloway lands tough Millwall job

Just 10 weeks after leaving Crystal Palace, Ian Holloway is returning to management down the road at Championship side Millwall. Holloway has penned a two-and-a-half-year contract to replace Steve Lomas, despite claiming he was worn out after his Palace tenure. MORE

FA dismisses Clattenburg claim

Southampton’s attempt to have referee Mark Clattenburg disciplined over a remark to Adam Lallana against Everton last month ended in failure yesterday, not least because the Football Association was told the player took no offence at the joke at the time. MORE

Poyet confident of strong display

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet urged his players to show no fear when they take on Manchester United in the Capital One Cup tonight at the Stadium of Light. “When the opportunity to play in a cup final comes along, you must grasp it,” he said. MORE

Flower says it is time for a change

Andy Flower has promised to shake things up in the England ranks after the 5-0 whitewash defeat to Australia in the Ashes series Down Under. “Obviously, after a loss of this proportion there has to be change of some description,” he said. MORE

Watson: Lehmann brought fun factor

Shane Watson has credited coach Darren Lehmann with bringing the enjoyment back to the Australian dressing room. “The game can get too much for you. Darren Lehmann comes in and within one day turns that all around,” he said. MORE

Robson injured on return to action

Laura Robson’s return to action was ended yesterday when she retired from her first-round tie in the Hobart International against Yanina Wickmayer with a wrist injury. The British No 1 was playing her first match of the season. MORE

Banned trio set for return to training

Encke, the 2012 St Leger winner who was barred from racing last year owing to the Mahmood al-Zarooni steroid scandal, is to stay in training for Godolphin. Certify and Steeler, also banned, are back in training, too.

Sam Wallace

He may have suffered more than his fair share of disappointments, but his record suggests Theo Walcott has the right temperament to bounce back from this latest one. MORE

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