Arsenal youngsters ready for England says Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott believes the experience already gained by Arsenal team-mates Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs mean they have an advantage over him in coming to terms with an England call-up.
Walcott had not played a single Premier League game when he was the shock inclusion in Sven Goran Eriksson's squad for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.
But Wilshere and Gibbs already have made their mark with the Gunners ahead of tomorrow evening's friendly international with France at Wembley.
Walcott told TheFA.com: "For me it was completely out of the blue going to the World Cup in 2006 especially as I'd not played in the Premier League.
"Gibbsy and Jack have been doing fantastically well for Arsenal when they get the opportunity to play and that is going to continue for years to come, I believe.
"I've always believed that if you're good enough you're old enough to play even in the Premier League.
I'm looking forward to playing with both of them for a long time. It would be good to see three English lads playing for Arsenal week-in, week-out.
"I think it would be great for the fans to watch as well. Hopefully we can bring back those memories of the successful Arsenal days of the past."
Walcott admits he takes great pleasure in seeing players like Wilshere and Gibbs earning their chance with England.
He said: "I suppose I am and old man in comparison!
"But it's lovely to see players at such a young age doing so well now at club level and getting the opportunity to play for the national team.
"It is a great achievement for them all and also showing the youth development side of things is working in the Premier League especially.
"Hopefully you will see a lot of people making their debuts against France."
Gibbs has paid tribute to the influence on his career of Arsene Wenger.
He said: "Arsene Wenger has given me everything. He is the reason I've been picked for England in the first place.
"He gave me my chance to play for the club. He gives a lot of young players the chance as well.
"That's a big part of what he does. He gives me a lot of confidence when he talks to me.
"That brings the best out of you and he does it every day with all the players at the club."
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