Walcott misses out on England World Cup squad
Four years after earning a sensational selection for the 2006 World Cup, Theo Walcott has been left out of Fabio Capello's England squad for this year's tournament in South Africa.
Walcott has endured an injury-troubled time since scoring his memorable hat-trick against Croatia to launch England's qualifying campaign in September 2008.
Shoulder, back, knee and hamstring problems restricted Walcott to just 15 starting appearances for Arsenal this term.
But after being parachuted back into the England fold for the March friendly against Egypt and then keeping his place for the recent wins over Mexico and Japan, it appeared Walcott had put fears about his form to bed.
Yet Capello has today delivered his own verdict on the 21-year-old, leaving him out of a 23-man party that includes Shaun Wright-Phillips instead.
Walcott said: "I am very disappointed not to be included in the squad going out to South Africa, but completely respect Mr Capello's decision. I would like to wish the team the best of luck and hope they have a really successful tournament."
Tom Huddlestone, Adam Johnson, Darren Bent, Michael Dawson and Scott Parker were not expected to be involved and can now start booking their summer holidays after Capello confirmed they would not be part of his squad.
Aside from Walcott, the one unexpected decision involved Stephen Warnock's selection ahead of Leighton Baines, whose discomfort at committing himself to being away from home for six weeks eventually counted against him, even though he featured against Egypt and Mexico while the Aston Villa man did not.
With scans on Gareth Barry's ankle injury confirming that he was on track to recover in time to play a full part in training immediately after the Group C opener against the United States on June 12, Capello was able to formulate the rest of his squad largely as predicted.
England's 23-man squad for the World Cup finals in South Africa
J Hart, D James, R Green; J Carragher, A Cole, R Ferdinand, G Johnson, L King, J Terry, M Upson, S Warnock; G Barry, M Carrick, J Cole, S Gerrard, F Lampard, A Lennon, J Milner, S Wright-Phillips; P Crouch, J Defoe, E Heskey, W Rooney