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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 June 2006, 09:46 GMT 10:46 UK
Walcott reveals battling streak
Theo Walcott
Walcott is one of four strikers in England's World Cup squad
Teenage striker Theo Walcott insists he has a competitive streak that has helped his dramatic rise to prominance.

Despite his slight frame, the World Cup-bound 17-year-old insists he is always happy to battle for possession.

"Physically, I don't go for challenges that much, I'm not one of those sorts of players," he told the Guardian.

"But when I was being kicked by a Wolves right-back I went straight back at him. And I will always challenge for a header - I've got a good spring."

Older players give you a lot more encouragement

Theo Walcott

Walcott also revealed that his relaxed attitude around senior players during his early football development helped him settle into the demands of top-flight football at such an early age.

The Arsenal teenager become England's youngest ever player at 17 years, 75 days when Sven-Goran Eriksson threw him on came on as a second-half substitute against Hungary on Tuesday.

But just last summer he was just breaking into Southampton's first-team squad as a youth player before embarking on a pre-season tour to Scotland under then manager Harry Redknapp.

"We went to Scotland and I'd never taken part in first-team training," Walcott said.

"But I felt really comfortable in training. I came on for 45 minutes at Motherwell then 45 against Kilmarnock. Peter Crouch was playing and it was good to watch him.

"I felt It is easier with better player around me, more talent. And older players give you a lot more encouragement."

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