Football

Wenger slams media for Walcott 'pressure'

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Arsene Wenger claims winger Theo Walcott is being put under "terrible pressure" to be fully fit in time for the World Cup finals in South Africa this summer.

A series of injuries to his back, knee, hamstring and ribs have hampered Walcott's progress this season and limited him to just five Premier League starts.

But Wenger told the Gunners official website: "The World Cup is not today. It is in June. I think he will make the squad. The problem is that everyone has the England national team in their mind and, because you want to bring the World Cup back to London, you want everybody to be on top today."

He added: "They will be in the long run but when players have been out for a while it takes a while to get back to your best with confidence, sharpness and zip. That will come back with Theo."

England boss Fabio Capello was at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday as Arsenal beat Sunderland with the media spotlight on Walcott throughout and Wenger believes the scrutiny puts intense strain on the youngster.

"It's terrible pressure but that's the modern media," he continued.

Wenger also believes club success could pave the way for a good World Cup, with players who approach the competition in confident mood more likely to star for their country in South Africa.

"They will be stronger at the World Cup if they come with a trophy and it has been a good a season, than without," said Wenger.

"If they have something in their pocket they are in a strong position. We are still in two competitions and the most important thing is we try to do as well as we can. "Sport is not what happens in six months. What happens now is important to us.

"I believe what is most important is the players focus on the club and achieve what they can for us."

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Topics:
Arsenal
Football
Premier League
Theo Walcott

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