Date: 29th August 2006 at 2:12pm
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England manager Steve McClaren has revealed that the England back room staff are monitoring Theo Walcott and his situation at Arsenal.

Walcott was somewhat amazingly picked for the world cup squad by Sven Gormless Ericsson without actually kicking a ball for Arsenal, however when McClaren took over, he rather sensibly popped Theo back into the under 21’s squad.

McClaren has revealed that he spoke to Walcott before he made his decision public and told the youngster he needed more experience before he breaks back into the England set up.

‘I spoke to Theo and said he needed games. That was why we put him in the Under-21s. I spoke to Pat Rice at Arsenal last week and he’s been delighted with him.

‘Theo is somebody we’re looking very closely at, but I just felt this time that he needs games before I consider him. Andy Johnson has the experience and I would like to look at him again.

‘We build everybody up and the high expectations on teams and players are beyond proportion. Theo has great potential and that’s the key word – potential. He has to become a regular at Arsenal and break through, and consistently perform at that level.

‘He will be mentally strong after this period. This is the experience you need and you have to go through it.

‘He’s at a big club and is surrounded by big players and that’s when you grow, not just physically but technically and tactically – and also in mentality. That’s something he has to develop. He has to mature and he’s at the right place to do that.

‘He’s got incredible pace and technique and that allows him to play right side or left side. He can also play down the middle. At 17, you have a lot of developing to do and I’m sure we’ll see that over the years.

‘He’s had a lot to contend with, but he was training with us and he was excellent. He was professional when we were out in Germany – he was a treat to work with.”

Walcott has already begun his progression into first team action, taking part in all three of Arsenal’s first team competitive games this season.

In fact, not only has he taken part, he has probably been Arsenal best player over those three games.

The future looks bright for Theo Walcott.

Keep it up.