Loss of Walcott a 'blow', says Hodgson
England coach Roy Hodgson has spoken of his disappointment at the news that Theo Walcott is out of the World Cup, with anterior cruciate ligament damage ruling him out for six months.
Walcott, 24, was almost certain to be part of Hodgson's squad for the World Cup finals in Brazil. But after the winger suffered the injury when getting in the studs caught in the Emirates Stadium turf late in Arsenal's 2-0 FA Cup win over arch-rivals Spurs his season is over.
"I spoke with Theo and just wanted to express my disappointment to him," Hodgson told the FA's official website. "It is a blow for him personally of course, and for both Arsenal and England.
"We had quite a lengthy conversation and it is such a shame that we have lost a player of his calibre for the World Cup, he has been incredibly unfortunate and we wish him a speedy recovery."
"Having worked with him for two years as England manager I know the character he has, and I know he will come back even stronger from this setback."
Arsenal full-back Carl Jenkinson, meanwhile, offered his own words of encouragement for his team-mate.
"If anybody is going to come back better and stronger, it is Theo. He is incredibly focused and mentally he is a very strong character," Jenkinson told Arsenal's official website. "Theo will be fine, I have no doubts about that. I am disappointed that we have lost him for the rest of the season because he is a massive player for us and brings us something unique.
"It is tough to see one of your friends out for a long period of time. You wouldn't wish it on anybody and it is probably the worst news we have had all season."
"He had only just come back from a previous injury and had been scoring goals for fun, so from both points of view it it terrible news.
"But Theo is a very strong guy and while it may take a bit of time to take it all in, he will just get on with things and fingers crossed the time flies by, for his sake and for ours."