Theo Walcott was last night ruled out of England's potentially tricky away game with Poland in Warsaw on Tuesday and could miss matches for Arsenal as well. He had been detained in hospital overnight after the match against San Marino on Friday, when a wild charge inside the first 10 minutes by the goalkeeper, Aldo Simoncini, caught him in the chest. Finding it difficult to breathe, he tried to walk back to the dug-out after being substituted by Aaron Lennon, but was forced to leave on a stretcher. The England manager, Roy Hodgson, said of Simoncini's challenge: "If I described it as reckless, I'd be kind."
The injury has come at a bad time for the Arsenal winger, who has been left out recently by Arsene Wenger but only last week spoke of hoping for "a nice run in the team" after scoring a fine goal as a substitute away to West Ham. He needs a series of good performances to persuade the club to improve their contract offer after talks stalled.
Walcott's club-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, having made a good impression on the other wing with some typically direct running and his first international goal, may well keep his place against Poland, but James Milner is expected to return, having missed his first match in the last nine internationals because he was one of four players who risked suspension. The others are Glen Johnson and Joleon Lescott, who should both be recalled, and Jermain Defoe, who hopes to force out Danny Welbeck. Steven Gerrard will return after suspension, along with the rested Ashley Cole, though Frank Lampard will be assessed today after suffering a knee strain.
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