Walcott says England have nothing to fear

Theo Walcott insists England have "nothing to fear" at this summer's World Cup.

With nine victories from their 10 qualifying games, the Three Lions have improved markedly since Fabio Capello took charge.

Although the professional veneer slipped somewhat with the ill-conceived 'Capello Index', the Italian has brought a renewed focus, which is one of the reasons England are spending two long periods in Austria training at altitude prior to departure for their Rustenburg base on June 2.

And, once in South Africa, Walcott does not believe England have any reason to be concerned.

"We have to believe we can win the tournament," he said.

"Obviously Spain are one of the big favourites. They won the European Championships and that was a great achievement.

"But we have nothing to fear because we've got some fantastic players.

"If you look at us individually there are some great players and if you look at the way we qualified, it shows that those individuals are playing together as a team.

"We just want to go one step further at the World Cup and bring it back for the fans."

Walcott has been part of a reduced 24-man England squad that has been put through their paces during the first two days of their training programme in Irdning, designed to get them acclimatised to playing above sea-level, as they will have to do in South Africa.

The four Chelsea players, plus Portsmouth's David James, who were involved in the FA Cup final, arrive later today, meaning currently injured midfielder Gareth Barry will be the only absentee.

Happily for Capello, everyone has been able to play some part in the opening two days of training.

Quite how far that extends in Ledley King's case is a moot point.

King is not able to train properly due to his chronic knee problems, although that did not prevent Capello picking him in his 30-man provisional squad.

However, he will need to be certain the Tottenham captain can make a meaningful contribution before handing him his ticket to South Africa.

King's ability is certainly not in question.

However, getting up to speed with the defensive formations of a coach he has never previously worked with, or players he has rarely played alongside is not going to be easy, even for Jamie Carragher, who has abandoned his international retirement for one last shot at the biggest prize the game has to offer.

For someone who cannot train, the task is almost impossible, so Capello will need to assess just how much work King can do over the next fortnight before pursuing the matter any further.

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