Wenger defends under-fire Walcott
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has no doubts Theo Walcott will come good for England.
The Gunners forward, who turns 21 next month, has seen his progress this season hampered by injury.
However, after a return to the Arsenal team, Walcott was called up to the England squad for the friendly against Egypt, and started at Wembley on Wednesday night before being replaced by Shaun Wright-Phillips after an ineffectual display.
Walcott - who smashed a famous hat-trick in the qualifier against Croatia at the start of last season - admits he cannot rely on past glories to make sure of his place in Fabio Capello's final 23-man party for South Africa.
Wenger, though, feels the former Southampton man - a shock inclusion in the last World Cup squad four years ago - is on the right track, despite being an easy target for critics.
"I believe for a while maybe people expected too much of Theo and now they are too hard with him," said the Arsenal manager.
"I believe Theo will be a great football player, he is very young, he will be 21 this year, he will have a great future.
"I believe in him because he has a fantastic attitude, he's an intelligent boy and he is highly motivated. These players always improve."
Former England winger Chris Waddle questioned Walcott's England credentials, claiming the youngster "doesn't understand the game".
Wenger, however, defender his player.
"Don't worry for him," the Arsenal boss said.
"I believe Theo has not only a football brain, but he has a brain - that means he will continue to develop at a very quick pace."
Latest in Sport
Phil Hughes dead: List of players who have tragically died on the cricket pitch
Nani transfer: No future for winger at Sporting Lisbon as club cannot afford his wages when loan deal with Manchester United runs out
This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Phillip Hughes death: UK company Masuri say Australian opener was wearing 'outdated helmet'
Tottenham Hotspur vs Partizan Belgrade match report: Spurs go through in Europa League - but pitch invaders grab the attention
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Sarah Vine criticises lesbian mother Jack Monroe: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'