Arsenal forward Theo Walcott could be out of UEFA Euro 2012 due to injury. He pulled up with a hamstring problem during the Gunners’ Premier League game against Chelsea on Saturday lunchtime, and although he briefly continued he soon went down in a heap and had to be replaced.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told the media that:
“It looks serious. We assessed the hamstring but he wanted to stay on. I think he should have come off straight away because the second time it was a ‘real’ hamstring. It’ll be 21 days. Minimum.”
Anybody who was watching the game on Saturday and has seen players pull up with hamstring injuries before will know that 21 days is a conservative estimated, particularly in light of Wenger’s distinction between the first time Walcott went down and the second. He won’t play for Arsenal again this season, which clearly puts his participation in Ukraine this summer in serious doubt.
Interestingly, there’s a slightly different spin on the club v country issue this year, as The Telegraph points out. With England’s European Championships players ineligible to play in the Olympic Games in London, it’s actually in Arsenal’s interests for Walcott to join the England squad in Krakow rather than stay at home. If he doesn’t make it to Euro 2012 he could be selected for the Team GB squad at London 2012 and that will surely be an eventuality Arsenal and Wenger would prefer to avoid.
But it doesn’t look good for the former Southampton youngster. With the England squad just weeks away from being named, Walcott’s minimum of three weeks out makes his participation extremely unlikely. This could well open the door for his Arsenal colleague Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, a player many would include in their 23-man squads regardless.
Though he’s definitely in contention already, England’s midfield options seem likely upon analysis to preclude both Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott being included in the squad. Walcott’s potential absence strengthens Oxlade-Chamberlain’s case immeasurably in terms of both squad space and skill set. Of course, Walcott himself provides the blueprint for his team-mate’s possible inclusion, having been selected for FIFA World Cup 2006 despite little Premier League experience.
(Photo credit: Ronnie Macdonald via Flickr)