Football

Who should replace Theo Walcott for England?

Walcott will miss England's crucial World Cup qualifiers next month. (©GettyImages)
Walcott will miss England's crucial World Cup qualifiers next month. (©GettyImages).

With the news that pacey Arsenal winger Theo Walcott will miss both of England's World Cup qualifying fixtures against Poland and Montenegro next month, the question that has to be asked is - who will replace him at Wembley?

Walcott suffered what Arsene Wenger called 'a mystery injury' in the warm-up of the Stoke City fixture on Sunday.

According to the Arsenal website, further examination has revealed "slight damage to his posterior abdominal wall" and the club confirmed he will be out for a few weeks.

The 24-year-old started both England's qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine earlier this month, and has been crucial in several of his country's Euro and World Cup qualifiers in the past. 

Walcott became the youngest player in history to score a hat-trick for England during the September 2010 match against Croatia. 

Hodgson must now decide who takes his place in the England line-up. Here's a few of his potential choices....

Ashley Young - The Manchester United winger has come under criticism recently for both his form and his attempted 'diving techniques' in order to gain his team an unfair advantage. The former Aston Villa player has the ability to create a moment of magic out of nowhere. He is known for his bending long-range strikes but hasn't shown this in recent months.

James Milner - The Manchester City midfielder has been regularly used by England managers in recent years. Roy Hodgson has opted to bring the burly winger on deep into the second-half of games as he looks to close out victories against tight opponents.

Milner also possesses the ability to run at defenders and swing in inviting crosses, as well as his defensive-strength play. But with playing time for his club being restricted he may not be the first-choice replacement.

Andros Townsend - Tottenham's 22-year-old was rewarded for his club form by being called up to the England squad for the first time this month. It was a surprise to many with the pacey winger only just breaking into the Spurs first-team and having only three caps at England U21 level.

But Townsend is exactly the type of player who should be benefiting from Walcott's situation, and proving that he is deserving of a place on the plane to Brazil, should England qualify.

Wilfried Zaha - Manchester United's young starlet is yet to find his feet in the Premier League - mainly due to lack of opportunities. With David Moyes still settling into the job at Old Trafford, he has yet to blood many of his younger squad members.

But Zaha has shown his abilities when asked to, especially for the England U21 squad in their recent internationals. Zaha posses strength, power and pace, he is able to move the ball and create space similar to Walcott and could add an extra dimension to England's line-up.

Raheem Sterling - another member of the group of young players to be blooded at full international level without much Premier League experience under their belt. The 18-year-old Liverpool ace regularly features from the Anfield bench and despite his age shows he is ready for the top level.

However, Sterling's chance is likely to come later due to the importance of these qualifiers for England.

Those with an outside chance:

Ross Barkley - his form has been sensational and could probably fill the role if he continues in this vein, although, a switch to the wing may be a stretch too far for the 19-year-old.

Jonjo Shelvey - showed mixed form against his former side Liverpool in their match against his current side Swansea but could be called-up for back-up.

Adam Lallana - Southampton captain who was called-up by Hodgson this time last year for the qualification match against Ukraine.

Missing out through Injuries:

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain & Aaron Lennon.

Topics:
Ashley Young
Andros Townsend
England Football
Football
James Milner
Theo Walcott
Wilfried Zaha

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