Walcott in line for return against Rovers

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The Independent Football

Theo Walcott made his long-awaited return to action yesterday with an appearance in a behind closed doors match at Arsenal's training ground to test out his recovery from a serious back injury.

Walcott has not played this season because of a back problem sustained when he was with the England Under-21s at the European championships this summer. He figured yesterday in a game against an Olympiakos academy side brought over by the Greek team who faced Arsenal in the Champions League last night.

Walcott did not experience any severe pain in the game which Arsenal won 3-1. He is now a consideration to play against Blackburn Rovers on Sunday and the England World Cup qualifiers against Ukraine and Belarus the week after. Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, said: "We played Olympiakos Under-20s and he played for 60 minutes and he came through. Walcott will be available for England next Saturday."

The last senior match that the winger played in was England's 6-0 defeat of Andorra in the World Cup qualifier at Wembley on 10 June.

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