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By ESPN Staff

Eriksson: Walcott will feature against Belarus

Arsenal youngster Theo Walcott is set to feature for England in the B international against Belarus on Thursday at the Madejski Stadium.

Walcott, 17, was a surprise inclusion for the World Cup squad as he has not played a senior game for his club, but he is set to get a chance against the team from Belarus.

'You will see him on Thursday,' said head coach Sven-Goran Eriksson at a press conference screened by Sky Sports News. 'Maybe not from the beginning but you will see him.'

Eriksson is hopeful of positive news on injured striker Wayne Rooney, who will have a scan on his foot on Thursday.

'That is not to talk about today,' said Eriksson. 'He will have a scan on Thursday and after that we will know more or less when he is ready. He is working very well but it's a bone, so they have to see the scan.

'I've always been optimistic about it. So far everything is okay, but let's wait until Thursday.'

Eriksson added: 'I think nobody knows today. I always - more with the heart than the head - said that he will play in the World Cup.'

Eriksson was clearer with reports on the progress of Newcastle striker Michael Owen, who is also recovering from a foot injury.

'We tested them last week in Portugal and that is very positive,' said Eriksson.

'Michael Owen is hungry to play football, you could see that last week - he was on fire.'

Michael Dawson has been brought into the squad as a stand-by, with the Tottenham defender set to feature against Belarus.

'I saw him many times this season and he is getting better and better,' Eriksson said. 'It's a good opportunity to be with a young squad for two weeks, maybe more.'

Eriksson is looking forward to seeing the players returning from injury or those on the fringe of the starting XI when his B side take on Belarus.

'It's very good for all of the players, especially for Michael Owen, Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell. They will probably start on Thursday, all three of them.

'The stand-by players will be involved in one way or another.

'Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, John Terry, David Beckham, Paul Robinson - those who played week-in week-out all season, they do not have to play.'

Eriksson expects Rooney's scan to take the heat out of any conflict with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who has reservations about rushing the player back for the World Cup.

'I don't think there will be any dispute,' Eriksson told Sky Sports News. 'If the bones still have problems the scan will tell you, so I don't think there will be any problems.'

The Swede is hopeful Michael Owen, who has also had his injury worries, will play a full part against Belarus.

'He'll start the game - it would be good for him if he could play 90 minutes,' added the England coach.

Eriksson, who repeated his belief that England can win the World Cup, denied that he has become more willing to take risks as he gets closer to leaving the job when the tournament ends.

He said: 'I don't think I'm different at all. I don't think I've changed during the last 10 years.'