While Theo Walcott will not play for England against Poland in the midweek World Cup qualifying match, the man who should be really fuming about his injury is Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, getting another injured player after the international case.
This used to be a recurring matter with Robin van Persie and his trips with the Dutch national team, coming back from a training session with something serious most of the time, missing a few months of football. For Walcott, it wasn’t in training, but actually a gruesome clash with San Marino goalkeeper, Aldo Simoncini.
Walcott stayed for an overnight look through at the hospital after the Friday match, to make sure he had no broken rib or anything more serious, but the severity and the extent of his injury will only be revealed once he returns to Arsenal, who’ll conduct their own checkup on the 23 year old forward.
The decent news to take away from this for both the national side and Arsenal is that Walcott isn’t a vital part of the plans. He got the start only because this was San Marino they were facing, and both Hodgson and Wenger prefer other players when it comes to the serious matches. His form has been improving in the last three weeks, getting a bit more chances in the lineup, but he’s still not a starting XI player for both the national team or his club.
It doesn’t come down to pure ability. It’s the contract situation with Arsenal, still waiting for him to come around from his high demands. Walcott has been linked with several Premier League sides, but the hunch is he prefers to stay with the gunners, for a bit more money. The deeper problem of not really knowing what to do with him on the pitch, striker or winger being the usual question, is a different matter.
In the wider, long-range sense, Walcott being out for a while could sting rather badly for Arsenal, who aren’t exactly deep when it comes to quality forwards and strikers. Not that Walcott has proven that he can be reliable scorer, but it’s never bad to have options.