BBC Sport
Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
Last Updated: Monday, 8 May 2006, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
Walcott & Lennon in England squad

Theo Walcott (left) and Aaron Lennon
Walcott (left) and Lennon receive their first England call-ups
Sven-Goran Eriksson has named teenagers Theo Walcott and Aaron Lennon in his provisional 23-man England squad for this summer's World Cup in Germany.

But Shaun Wright-Phillips, Ledley King and Darren Bent miss out, while Jermain Defoe is on a five-man standby list.

Walcott, 17, is one of four strikers in Eriksson's squad, along with Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen and Peter Crouch.

Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing and Bayern Munich's Owen Hargreaves are the other surprise inclusions.

Lennon, 19, gets in ahead of fellow winger Wright-Phillips, who despite not playing regularly for Chelsea had kept his England squad place until now.

But he does not even make the standby list either, which includes uncapped West Ham midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker and Crystal Palace striker Andy Johnson.

Uncapped Walcott is yet to make a first-team appearance for Arsenal and Eriksson - who revealed his squad at a news conference on Monday - said his decision to include the youngster was a last-minute one.

It was sad to not pick people but we had to make a decision
Sven-Goran Eriksson

"I only decided finally this morning," said the England coach, who will step down after the World Cup.

"It's a big gamble, I know it is. I am excited to see him, he's a big talent. And pace in football today is worth a lot.

"For me it's a good squad, an interesting squad. There are some new players, some young players and it is an attacking squad with a lot of pace which is necessary in a World Cup."

Walcott was taking his theory test for his driving exam when the announcement was made.

"Theo's still in shock," said his agent Colin Gordon.

"He was only expecting one decent result today. He did pass his theory test, but there you go, he's got two."

Asked how he came to the decision to omit the likes of Defoe and Bent in favour of Walcott, Eriksson confessed: "Probably not too logically.

"Sometimes you do it on feelings as well and I am excited about Theo Walcott."

Eriksson's assistant Tord Grip said Walcott's lack of experience would not count against him.

"Theo is being given a chance and I think he will take it like other young players have," he told BBC Sport.

I am really excited about the prospect of taking Aaron Lennon to Germany
Sven-Goran Eriksson

"Wayne Rooney had not played many games before he was called up. Theo has not been tested yet but he will be.

"I thought we should pick him. At his age you have no fear and you do not feel pressure."

Walcott and Crouch are the only fully fit recognised strikers in the squad, with Rooney, in particular, a major doubt as he recovers from a broken metatarsal.

Owen is closer to a full return after also breaking a bone in a foot.

"I think Michael Owen will be fully 100% fit to train with us from Monday. Rooney, it is just to wait and hope and see," said Eriksson.

"But Joe Cole is a striker as well so in reality we have seven defenders, nine midfielders and five strikers - it is depending on how you use Joe Cole."

Eriksson admitted it had been a difficult task informing those players who had not been selected.

"This morning I talked to those players. It was sad to not pick people but we had to make a decision," he said.

"The reason why Shaun Wright-Phillips is not in the squad is very simple - it is Aaron Lennon

Eriksson added that the decision to exclude King was based on the Tottenham defender's fitness.

"Ledley King is injured and he can't train," said the England coach.

"If you talk about centre-halves we are very well covered, so taking another one half-injured when we have so many good ones it is not a good idea."

Eriksson must name his final squad on Monday 15 May, but he has until 24 hours before England's first game on 10 June to replace any injured players.

Provisional squad:
Robinson (Tottenham), James (Manchester City), Green (Norwich); G Neville (Manchester United), Ferdinand (Manchester United), Terry (Chelsea), Cole (Arsenal), Campbell (Arsenal), Carragher (Liverpool), Bridge (Chelsea), Beckham (Real Madrid), Carrick (Tottenham), Lampard (Chelsea), Gerrard (Liverpool), Hargreaves (Bayern Munich), Jenas (Tottenham), Downing (Middlesbrough), J Cole (Chelsea), Lennon (Tottenham), Rooney (Manchester United), Owen (Newcastle), Crouch (Liverpool), Walcott (Arsenal).

Carson (Liverpool), Young (Charlton), Reo-Coker (West Ham), Defoe (Tottenham), Johnson (Crystal Palace).

News conference: England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson

Interview: England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson

Interview: Sven-Goran Eriksson's assistant Tord Grip

Eriksson yet to see Walcott play
08 May 06 |  England
Walcott 'will handle World Cup'
08 May 06 |  England
Jol astonished by Defoe omission
08 May 06 |  England
England's World Cup form guide
08 May 06 |  England
Pick your England team
08 May 06 |  Squad selectors
England scouting review
08 May 06 |  World Cup 2006

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


E-mail services | Sport on mobiles/PDAs


Back to top

Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability Sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other Sport...

BBC Sport Academy >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
About the BBC | News sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy | Contact us
banner watch listen bbc sport