Arsenal forward Walcott ruled out of World Cup

Theo Walcott will miss the World Cup after it was confirmed the England had ruptured ligaments in his knee during Arsenal’s FA Cup win over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, BBC Sport has reported.

Walcott was stretchered off during the match and responded to taunts from visiting supporters by making a 2-0 gesture, for which he was reminded of his responsibilities by the Football Association but faces no further sanction. The 24-year-old did not appear to be in serious discomfort as he left the pitch but will now be out of action for six months.

An Arsenal statement said: “Theo has sustained a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee. He will have surgery in the near future and is expected to be out for at least six months, thus missing the rest of the season and the World Cup.

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England are due to play their first World Cup game on June 14, against Italy. Walcott, with 36 caps to his name, has never appeared at a World Cup, having been an unused squad member when a teenager in Sven Goran-Eriksson’s 2006 party, and missing out on a call-up from Fabio Capello in 2010.

Walcott previously missed two months of the season with a stomach injury and his lengthy absence leaves club manager Arsene Wenger with a headache in attack. Wenger has recently been without Olivier Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner has been ruled out for a month, depriving the Premier League leaders of their attacking options.

Arsenal’s statement concluded: “Everyone at Arsenal wishes Theo a speedy recovery and we look forward to seeing him back on a football pitch as soon as possible.

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