Steven Gerrard's incredible reaction to Theo Walcott's inclusion in England's 2006 WC squad

Quarter-final England v Portugal - World Cup 2006

Back in 2006, there was genuine optimism that England could finally do some damage at a World Cup.

The Three Lions are notoriously poor performers, reaching the final only once in 1966 and only one other semi-final spot in the famous 1990 run under Bobby Robson.

Nevertheless, after a fairly decent showing at South Korea/Japan 2002, England fans really thought that the team could match the likes of Brazil, France, Germany and Italy.

But, as is typical with England, everyone was proven wrong, with a fairly average group stage and second round being undone by a woeful display in the quarter-final against Portugal.

Ricardo Carvalho and Cristiano Ronaldo may have conspired to get Wayne Rooney sent off but in reality, England were clearly not good enough to win the tournament.

The likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, David Beckham, Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell were at their domestic peaks, but still, England's squad couldn't cope in Germany.

Sven-Goran Eriksson was an experimental man during his reign and one decision for the 2006 tournament baffled a lot of people.

Theo Walcott had just joined Arsenal as a 16-year-old from Southampton and despite the fact he hadn't featured in the Premier League, he was thrown into the first-team squad.

Arsenal v Watford

It is actually the only time he has been included in his career and predictably, he didn't play a minute.

Eriksson could have included a number of different forwards and his decision was truly baffling to one man; Gerrard.

"A few decisions were wrong, like not taking five strikers," the Liverpool legend wrote in his autobiography, per BBC. "He certainly shouldn't have brought Theo Walcott to Germany.

Quarter-final England v Portugal - World Cup 2006

"Not only were England embarking on an arduous World Cup campaign with only four forwards but one of them was Theo Walcott.

"I almost fell over when I heard. Now let's get one or two things right about Theo. He's a nice lad and one day he will mature into a very good player.

"But he had no right to be in Germany. None at all. I was gobsmacked to find him on the plane."

English midfielder Steven Gerrard kicks

It would be interesting to know whether all the players felt the same as Gerrard and if they did, why was nothing said?

Eriksson left after the tournament and the likes of Steve McClaren, Fabio Capello and Roy Hodgson have fared no better than the Swede, but at least they never made a decision like the one with Walcott.

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE:

News Now - Sport News