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Nov 13, 2011

Walcott: We can compete

England's victory over Spain without some of their major stars proves they do have the strength in depth to rival the world's best, according to Theo Walcott.

• Phil Ball: Wembley sunset
• Capello backs young stars to shine
• Brewin: Keep calm and carry on

• Lampard 'realistic' over Spain win

Despite being without half of their first-choice XI, England produced a magnificent backs-to-the-wall victory against the world and European champions at Wembley.

Manager Fabio Capello reportedly cast doubt on the quality of his squad in the build-up to 1-0 friendly win, but then watched a side shorn of Wayne Rooney, John Terry, Steven Gerrard, Jack Wilshere and Ashley Young lay down a marker ahead of Euro 2012. And Arsenal winger Walcott thinks the squad is deep enough to challenge the world's best.

He said: ''A lot of players who came in all took their chance. But that's what we've got in this England team. We've got so many great players in each position now.

''Tournament football, it's very important to have 23 very physically fit players and the players that came in did that and everyone's got to stay on their toes now.''

England carried out Capello's game plan almost to perfection, conceding that Spain were going to dominate possession and focusing on shutting them down.

Walcott said: ''Any Spanish team's always going to have the ball for periods of time. So you've just got to make sure that you don't switch off, try not to get frustrated as well.

''But you start to see a bit of frustration getting to the Spanish players - a couple of bookings - it wasn't quite happening for them because we kept on breaking them down.

''Obviously, we were limited going forward but the most important thing was that we got the win and there were a lot of positives to take out of it.''

He added: ''Our back four was absolutely fantastic - but not just them. Players who came on fitted straight in. Sometimes, it changes the flow of the game when you make substitutions but everyone took their chance.''

England were almost denied a famous win when Walcott's former Arsenal team-mate Cesc Fabregas somehow fired a left-foot finish wide with the goal at his mercy.

Admitting his heart had been in his mouth on the bench, Walcott said: ''It was a great opportunity for them. Maybe if it was on his right foot, he might've taken it.''

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