England and Arsenal winger Theo Walcott has told The Daily Telegraph he is learning to walk again in the wake of his season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury.
The 24-year-old, who faced the media for the first time since learning he would miss the 2014 World Cup, has been given the all clear to start walking without crutches and driving again – nearly two months post-surgery.
“The last two days have been good days, getting out of the brace and off the crutches,” Walcott said.
“I have been able to walk a bit easier. It has taken me a while to get the walking right, but it is nearly there.”
The Arsenal wideman – currently attending rehabilitation sessions six days a week – has been forced to juggle his hectic schedule with sleeping difficulties and dietary temptations.
“It is tempting to eat chocolate bars or whatever, but I’m very disciplined,” Walcott said. “Mel won’t let me, either. She controls the fridge.
Despite enduring one of the most testing periods of his career, Walcott has plenty to look forward to with the arrival of his first child expected in the near future.
“The baby is one of the things that keeps me going,” said the former Southampton youngster.
“It’s a great experience. It will be amazing for me, my family and Mel and her family. In some way it’s a silver lining I suppose. Maybe it was destined to happen.”
Walcott says he received offers to speed up his return to health in time for the World Cup, but he has no regrets turning down optimistic treatment ahead of his peak years as a footballer.
“I was never tempted by any of the offers from people saying they could get me fit for the World Cup. I followed the club advice. I went to a consultant, Andy Williams, in London and it was a great decision.
“I’ve seen players saying it would be a great opportunity to get in the Champions League and to play Champions League football would be a dream come true. I’ve got X amount of appearances in the Champions League and there will still be many more great years for me to come, definitely.”
While injuries of this serious nature can hinder the lifespan of player’s career, the England international has the assurance of doctors that he will make a full recovery before returning to action early next season.
“I haven’t set a return date, to be honest,” Walcott said.
“I’ll be absolutely fine, as long as I put the hard work in. There will be ups and downs, of course. I don’t expect this injury to be absolutely perfect. But at the end of it I’ll be very strong, mentally and physically.”
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