Theo Walcott has admitted he cried following Fabio Capello's shock decision to omit him from the England World Cup squad this summer.
Walcott had been expected to be at the forefront of Capello's plans to win a first world title since 1966.
The Italian, however, decided to exclude Walcott from his 23-man party, controversially opting to take Manchester City's Shaun Wright-Phillips ahead of the former Southampton winger.
Walcott was playing golf with a friend and his cousin when Capello gave the 21-year-old the bad news, a moment which he rates as the biggest disappointment of his career to date.
"I had the day off so I was on the golf course and I got the phone call," Walcott told http://www.arsenal.com.
"He just said, 'I'm sorry. I'm not going to bring you to South Africa, but I'll see you in 2012 for the Euros.'
"I didn't know what to say at all. He said, 'have a good break and good luck. I'll see you soon.' I wished him all the best.
"There are always disappointments in football, this was my biggest one yet," he added.
"Obviously I was disappointed but I wanted the lads to do well because I am an England fan as well. I said 'good luck' and that was it.
"I will always respect the manager's decision. If the boss at Arsenal leaves me out of a game, I am always disappointed and I show that. You can't be happy when you are not there. I always want to be there, no matter what happens.
"Actually, I did have a tear to be fair with my cousin and my mate. Then I played the best golf ever."
Walcott endured a frustrating season at the Emirates Stadium last year, starting only 12 Barclays Premier League games thanks to a series of injuries.
He is now confident that his time off this summer will help him have a strong season for both club and country.
He continued: "I was obviously very disappointed not to have made it, but now for the first time in a long time, I have been able to have a rest and a proper pre-season.
"The full pre-season will definitely help.
"It was an on-off season last season and it's difficult to come back from that. I would just get back and I'd get another injury.
"I was in double figures last season with injuries. Maybe last year I was thinking about it too much and I was being a bit too timid in games because I was thinking about injury.
"This year I'm just going to get out there and show people what I can do. It's all I can do really."
Walcott also revealed that he has been impressed with the addition of Marouane Chamakh and the performances of England prospect Jack Wilshere during pre-season.
He said: "I am really excited about the season ahead - we were pleased with winning the Emirates Cup last weekend and it's good to see players like Jack Wilshere coming through and playing so well.
"It is also exciting to see new players like Marouane Chamakh joining the squad."Reuse content