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Nov 18, 2008

Walcott ruled out of Germany friendly

England winger Theo Walcott has been ruled out of the friendly against Germany after dislocating his right shoulder in training, the Football Association have confirmed.

The Arsenal youngster was taken to hospital where the shoulder was put back into place and a decision will be taken on Wednesday over when Walcott will return to England.

Arsenal have been kept fully informed about the 19-year-old's treatment, with England boss Fabio Capello naturally disappointed.

''Our priority is Theo and making him as comfortable as possible before he returns to England,'' he said. ''We are all very disappointed but the important thing is for Theo to travel home and make a quick recovery.''

While the injury is a blow to Capello, robbing him of one of the few members of his first-choice side to actually make the trip, it is even worse news for Arsene Wenger.

With the Gunners' Premier League title hopes in danger of being over before the end of November, he must now do without Walcott for an extended period due to no fault of his own.

In a week when the club versus country debate has reignited passions, Wenger, one of the fiercest critics of international friendlies, is now deprived of Walcott's services for that very reason.

Last season, Derby midfielder Stephen Pearson was ruled out for a month after suffering the same injury.

Even if Walcott equalled that timescale, he would miss four league games and the rest of Arsenal's Champions League group campaign.

"During tonight's training session Theo Walcott dislocated his right shoulder after falling on the pitch," said an FA statement. "Theo was taken to hospital, where he has had the shoulder put back into place.

"Theo will return to the team hotel and a decision will be made in the morning by the medical staff as to when Theo can fly home. Arsenal's medical staff were advised of the injury soon after the incident."

Meanwhile, Arsenal's Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner feels the time with his national team in the last two years has helped develop his game.

''When I first started playing I wasn't the team player I could be - and now I am starting to adapt the way I should and have been doing well for them,'' Bendtner said on Arsenal TV Online.

''When I came in I was 18, and you are young in your mind and young on the pitch - you didn't know where to stand and what position to be in. You didn't realise that if you lose the ball you have to be the 11th defender.

''I have that in my game now, and it has changed me a lot.''

Bendtner has declared himself ready to help Arsenal find the consistency they need to sustain a Premier League title challenge.

The 20-year-old added: ''So far this season I haven't played as much as I would have liked. But I'm sure it will come and I'll keep working hard in training.''

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