Theo Walcott: Trust in England’s youth
Theo Walcott has backed England’s youngsters to take their chance to shine during the World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine.
Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge, Everton’s Ross Barkley and Andros Townsend of Tottenham have been called up by Roy Hodgson in recognition of their domestic form in the Premier League.
Hodgson has spoken about the shallow pool of talent he has to pick players from, especially with injuries ruling out experienced figures like Wayne Rooney, Glen Johnson and Ben Foster but Walcott has faith in the new talent being brought into the squad.
“I came in at such a young age and I got a hat-trick against Croatia -- anyone could do that against Moldova and Ukraine,” the Arsenal winger said.
“There are chances there to be taken. If you're good enough the manager is going to pick you. There's a good balance in the team now and that has started to show at Wembley. It's only going to be positive when you see these youngsters coming through.
“These guys are improving and they are playing really well for their clubs. You want to see the best young talents come through very early and they will only improve.”
The omission of Rooney through injury leaves England without their main goal threat but Walcott insists there are enough players in the squad who will be keen to show what they can do in front of goal against Moldova who are ranked 123rd.
Sturridge has scored three in three for Liverpool in the new Premier League campaign while Danny Welbeck and Rickie Lambert both scored in their last outing for the national side, the 3-2 win against Scotland.
“Wayne is an absolutely fantastic talent. He has had it for so many years and it's a shame he's not here,” Walcott said.
“But we have got some players here that will now have the opportunity to come in and show what they can do and I think we will be absolutely fine.
“Hopefully Sturridge can shake off his injury and Rickie (Lambert) and Danny (Welbeck) have started off the season well.”
With 33 appearances for England, Walcott has become an established figure in the international set-up.
After signing a new long-term deal with Arsenal last season he has produced consistently at club level and his next target is to replicate that form for England.
He added: “I have been very happy with my form. I am enjoying my football. I had a difficult start to last season with all the contract situation but that's all sorted now and the next step is to be a bit more consistent with England.
“I want my form with Arsenal to hit England and I think it's starting to happen.”