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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 May 2006, 20:54 GMT 21:54 UK
Walcott uncovered
By Mandeep Sanghera

England striker Theo Walcott
Walcott could be England's version of Thierry Henry

Theo Walcott's inclusion in England's squad for the World Cup has been greeted by some as a tactical masterstroke and by others as the last throw of a dice by a coach who has run out of ideas.

The 17-year-old has yet to play a Premiership game for Arsenal but he came on as a 61st-minute substitute for the England B team in their 2-1 defeat at the hands of Belarus on Thursday.

And 19 minutes later he saw a stinging volley well saved by Belarus keeper Vasili Khomutovsky.

BBC Sport learns what we can expect from his manager and Gunners team-mates.

ARSENAL MANAGER ARSENE WENGER

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

He is level-headed and doesn't panic. He has good mental strength and is calm in front of goal. He is also physically powerful.

He is a great finisher, the timing of his runs is very good and he has a very short backlift which means he doesn't take much time to shoot.

It is too early to say he is a Wayne Rooney.

I believe Rooney has a naturally determined attitude. He comes on and straight away he makes you think 'listen, I'm here to sort you out'. He has that natural striker's attitude and plays instinctively without doubts in his mind.

Theo is more of a guy that uses his pace and may not be as involved as Rooney in the game - but when he is he's lethal.

He is a quiet personality but a strong personality. I believe he will cope with it surprisingly well.

ROBERT PIRES

Robert Pires

He is a really good player. I know it was a surprise for everyone to see he was selected in the 23 but it wasn't a such surprise for us at Arsenal.

Yes, he's young and it's true he hasn't played in any Premiership games, but we know him well, we've trained with him and he is an interesting prospect.

I think he could be a supersub. He's very quick, technically gifted and a very good finisher. I think it would be excellent if he came on in games.

I think he is faster than Thierry Henry. He joined us at the age of 16 and he is the youngest player I have seen who has got all the qualities that he has.

ASHLEY COLE

Ashley Cole

I've seen him train every day and I'm glad for him. If he gets his chance I think he'll do well.

He's lightning quick and if he plays in the World Cup then I hope we can use that to our benefit.

He's really down to earth and a quiet sort of guy, plus he's got a good family and good girlfriend behind him to help.

All the players will look after him in the England camp. We're not going to let him be down or be on his own, and we've got a lot of experienced players who can look after him.

It probably will be hard for him but as I said we've just got to make it as good as we can and as easy as we can for him.

The Arsenal guys know him more than the other players and we can talk to him more and let him hang around with us.

I didn't go as a 17-year-old but I went as a young guy and they looked after me like I'd been there for a long time. A lot of the players in the squad are young so everyone will gel and get on well.

SOL CAMPBELL

He has got enough good people around him to settle him down and realise that the media will want more information from him as is happening already.

The injuries have opened the way up for him. I know there are a lot of lads who are probably a little bit disappointed but it is the gaffer's decision.

It's up to me and Ashley to help him and I'm sure the other lads will help him as well.



SEE ALSO
Wenger tips Walcott to surprise
11 May 06 |  England
Theo Walcott photos
09 May 06 |  Photo Galleries
Level-headed Walcott 'will cope'
09 May 06 |  Berkshire
Walcott's girl tastes spotlight
12 May 06 |  UK News
England team guide
27 Apr 06 |  England
World Cup fixtures
09 Dec 05 |  Schedule
Have your say on the World Cup
28 Apr 06 |  Football
BBC World Cup coverage
27 Apr 06 |  BBC coverage


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