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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 May 2006, 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK
Eriksson dismisses Walcott fears
Theo Walcott
Walcott has yet to play for Arsenal
England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson has dismissed Bobby Charlton's fears that 17-year-old Arsenal striker Theo Walcott is too young for the World Cup.

Charlton, who played in England's 1966 World Cup-winning side, has said taking Walcott to Germany is "maybe a bit too much to ask of the young player".

Eriksson said: "Walcott is a huge talent and I think he's mentally ready.

"I don't think anyone expects him to come on against Brazil and score three goals but he deserves to be here."

It is a little bit sad to know that it is 40 years since England last won a big tournament

Sven-Goran Eriksson

Eriksson also dismissed the notion that Walcott, who has yet to make his debut for Arsenal since joining them in January, would be overawed if he played for England in the World Cup.

"I don't think he has any fear - and why should he? He has nothing to lose," added Eriksson.

"Who knows? In the next World Cup, maybe he will start. He has fitted in off the pitch. He is a very steady boy. I don't think he is worried at all about the World Cup.

"Before I picked him, we checked with Arsenal and other people what kind of boy he is. I don't think he has any fear and why should he?

"He has nothing to lose. He was surprised to be picked like a lot of people were. He is here, he fits in and he is quick I can tell you. He is very quick."

Meanwhile, Eriksson remains bullish about England's World Cup prospects.

"For a huge football country like England it is a little bit sad to know that it is 40 years since we last won a big tournament - and it's time to do it now," said the Swede.

"It is a dream among all of us and I think we can do it. The players believe today they can win it. They did not believe that four years ago - not in this way anyway."

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