Former England boss Sven Goran Eriksson has admitted he didn't help Theo Walcott by selecting him for the 2006 World Cup.
The then-17-year-old was part of England's final 23-man squad for their ill-fated World Cup campaign in Germany. Walcott become England's youngster ever international in a pre-tournament friendly against Hungary, but he didn't make an appearance during the competition.
And speaking to OLBG, Eriksson said: "Walcott is still young, but I’m surprised he didn’t have a better career than he has had… I thought he should have been one of the big stars when I picked him for the World Cup at 17.
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"I never thought about starting him, but from the bench, I thought he could do something. But then in the last game where we maybe needed him, we played 10 vs 11 against Portugal so there wasn’t time to put on another striker, and that was a pity.
"I’m still glad I took him, but it didn’t go as well as we thought because we had been 10 vs 11. I would have put him on but we played one hour and 30 minutes in full time and then 30 minutes extra, so it was not the case we could do it.
"I don’t know why he hasn’t matched expectations. Maybe the expectations on him were too high, and maybe I didn’t help him there, to have picked him for England at that age maybe."
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Theo Walcott never quite lived up to the expectations that were placed on his shoulders when he first burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old at Southampton. However, he scored 65 goals in 270 games in all competitions for Arsenal from 2006 to 2018, lifting the FA Cup twice during his time with the Gunners, despite his progress being hampered by injuries.
After a disappointing stint at Everton, Walcott returned to Southampton in 2021, but he's only made nine appearances for the Saints since his homecoming.
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