Theo Walcott is receiving plenty of support after he looks set to miss out on his second consecutive World Cup after sustaining a ruptured ACL of his left knee, not to mention watching Arsenal’s best shot at silverware in years from the treatment table.
It has been a difficult season for Theo, especially coming off of a career best last campaign where he ended top goalscorer for the club. After sustaining an abdominal injury that kept him sidelined for a chunk of the season, he’s been dealt a cruel blow despite only recently returning to fitness and blistering form.
England manager Roy Hodgson has revealed he has spoken with the 24-year-old, expressing his sympathy toward the wingers situation but has backed him to return a stronger player next season.
Hodgson told TheFA.com:
I spoke with Theo and just wanted to express my disappointment to him.
It is a blow for him personally of course, and for both Arsenal and England.
We had quite a lengthy conversation and it is such a shame that we have lost a player of his calibre for the World Cup, he has been incredibly unfortunate and we wish him a speedy recovery.
Having worked with him for two years as England Manager I know the character he has, and I know he will come back even stronger from this setback.
Former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson also offered words of encouragement to Walcott after hearing of his serious injury. The Scotsman had a text conversation with the Gunners winger-come-striker, and revealed he is remaining optimistic after suffering dealing a blow to both his club and countries hopes.
Wilson told Sky Sports News:
Having been at the Spurs game live I watched a recording on Monday, and only then did I realise how well Theo played in the central striking role.
I was in the process of texting congratulations to him when I heard about the anterior cruciate injury. I did text him to say how well he played and that we were thinking of him and – as you’d expect because he’s such a good guy – I got a very, very positive response.
It wasn’t a long message, but the main line coming through was ‘I will get through this’. He’s a positive lad still in his early 20s, and you think of Aaron Ramsey with career-threatening injury he had (a broken leg in 2010) and how well he’s come through.
I know the treatment he’ll get and all the positivity he has. We wish him well.
Carl Jenkinson is both a close friend and team mate of Walcott, and is gutted to see him sidelined at such a crucial part of the season and stage of his career. But the Arsenal right back believes Theo has the mental and physical strength to overcome the injury and return stronger than before.
Jenkinson feels it has been the worst blow the Gunners have received this season, and was a major asset for Arsene Wenger’s side due to the unique qualities the England international brings to the table.
He told Arsenal.com:
If anybody is going to come back better and stronger, it is Theo. He is incredibly focused and mentally he is a very strong character.
Theo will be fine, I have no doubts about that. I am disappointed that we have lost him for the rest of the season because he is a massive player for us and brings us something unique.
It is tough to see one of your friends out for a long period of time. You wouldn’t wish it on anybody and it is probably the worst news we have had all season. He had only just come back from a previous injury and had been scoring goals for fun, so from both points of views it is terrible news.
But Theo is a very strong guy and while it may take a bit of time to take it all in, he will just get on with things and fingers crossed the time flies by, for his sake and for ours.
Walcott has been receiving a huge amount of support from all over, and like numerous Arsenal stars before him, he will return to his best after a long lay-off.
It appears he may well be in line for a return to pre-season which will bode well for the next campaign. The important thing is to not rush the recovery and now there is no pressure to do so after being ruled out of the World Cup.
Arsenal have two ready-made replacements for Walcott on the right wing in Serge Gnabry and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the latter returning to training this week. Gooners are just praying Wenger can find a striker this transfer window to supplement Olivier Giroud up front.