Arsenal winger Theo Walcott ruled out of England World Cup qualifiers and is set to undergo surgery on his abdomen

Walcott pulled out of Sunday's match against Stoke just minutes before kick-off with a muscular abdominal injury
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Arsenal have suffered yet another injury blow with the news that Theo Walcott will require surgery on his abdomen, ruling him out for at least a month.

Walcott pulled out of the squad to face Stoke on Sunday just minutes before kick-off with a “mysterious muscular abdominal injury”, with Arsene Wenger unable to confirm when he would be fit to return. But the Frenchman has now confirmed that the 24-year-old has suffered minor damage to his posterior abdominal wall, although he stresses it is not a hernia.

Walcott was replaced in the line-up by youngster Serge Gnabry, with Ryo Miyaichi named on the bench in his absence.

It has now been confirmed that Walcott will need surgery on his abdomen, ruling him out of England’s crucial World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Ukraine at Wembley next month. He is set to fly to Germany to have the minor procedure before beginning his rehab immediately.

Speaking to, Wenger said: “Theo will be out for a few weeks. He has developed some damage to his posterior abdominal wall. It's not a hernia, but it's a little structural problem in his abdomen.

"He will have the procedure in Germany on Wednesday and, because it’s so minor, we can begin his rehab immediately. We are pleased it’s being dealt with quickly and he shouldn’t miss too many Arsenal matches. But he will miss the forthcoming international matches with England.”

Walcott netted his first goal this season in the Champions League group victory over Marseille, with a neatly struck volley giving the Gunners the lead. He will however miss their next group match against Napoli when the Serie A leaders visit the Emirates stadium next week.