Walcott beats Johnson to England winger role

 

Fabio Capello is expected to bring Theo Walcott back into the England team for their Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland tomorrow as he opts for a 4-3-3 formation with Darren Bent as the centre-forward.

Walcott, 22, missed the last two games against Wales and Ghana in March in which Ashley Young and Wayne Rooney operated in the wide positions in a three-man attack with Bent down the middle. Tomorrow at Wembley, Walcott is expected to be selected ahead of Stewart Downing, James Milner and Adam Johnson who are all contenders for the role.

Walcott has played four times for Capello this season having been omitted from the World Cup final squad this time last year. The Arsenal winger has trained as part of a three with Bent and Young this week. Rio Ferdinand and John Terry will also be re-united in the centre of defence of a strong England team missing just the suspended Wayne Rooney and the injured Steven Gerrard from those who command starting places.

Walcott's inclusion means Adam Johnson is likely to miss out on the starting line-up. It will disappointment to the Manchester City winger as he made an impact with England in the away tie against Switzerland in September.

"The game over there was a great night for me personally," he said, "one of the career highs, especially with England. It's the best game I have had for England at under-21 or seniors. But it's a different game on Saturday. It's going to be different players on each team, and we've got to look to get a win so everyone goes away for the summer happy."

Johnson, who had been omitted from the summer's World Cup squad, was an early replacement in Basle for Walcott, who turned his ankle and had to come off. He capped an excellent display with a goal, his second in successive qualifiers. An ankle injury in January interrupted his burgeoning international career but he returned to feature in City's late surge into third in the Premier League, and their FA Cup triumph.

"Since I have got back from injury I have been pleased with my form, but not really delighted with it," he said. "But it will take a little bit of time to get back. It was the first long-term injury of my career and I rushed back a bit for the big games like the FA semi-final [against Manchester United]. Apart from the injury it's been a good season. I've been reasonably happy with my performances, we've won the FA Cup and qualified for the Champions League."

Johnson admitted the fight for places is fierce. "There's a lot of competition on the wings, so whoever plays has to grasp the spot and keep it."

The winger also discussed Carlos Tevez and his possible transfer away from City. "He is the best player I have played with. He carries us sometimes with his goals and his drive. Some of the goals, and some of the stuff he does in training, is just unbelievable. I hope we keep hold of him because he will be a major part next season when we are playing in the Champions League.

"There's probably only five or six strikers out there who get you that many goals a season at the highest level. We have one of them, so it would be great if we could keep him." Had Tevez not given the squad some clue as to his intentions? A big going-away Argentine-style barbecue for example? "He does not really say much, he is quite quiet," revealed Johnson, adding: "His English isn't too good. He keeps himself to himself."

With or without Tevez Johnson is excited about life at City. "When I signed I knew I was joining something that was going to be massive," he said. "Back then I had not played for England, or in the Champions League. But in the last year-and-a-half since I signed, my whole life has changed."

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick