Arsene Wenger has backed Theo Walcott to reclaim a place in the England squad and even believes the Arsenal forward has the qualities to captain the Three Lions.
The 28-year-old missed out on Gareth Southgate’s last selection and was also omitted from last summer’s European Championship as Roy Hodgson preferred other options.
Walcott has had a mixed career at international level, going to the 2006 World Cup as an unproven 17-year-old and becoming England’s youngest senior cap before not featuring in the finals.
Arsenal boss Wenger had previously said not being picked by Hodgson had given Walcott the encouragement to kick on and he has already hit 19 goals this season, largely playing out wide for the Gunners and captaining them on occasion.
“Walcott has the quality, if you look at his career, he can respond to disappointment with good focus,” Wenger said.
“He had a very bad injury and he came back. When you look at his career in 2006 he was in the World Cup and since he has not been – and we are in 2017 now.
“That is basically 11 years later and he has gone through very early high up and he is still there. That means these guys can deal with disappointment.
“He is a guy who cares and wants to do well, he has a huge level of focus. I looked at his numbers the other day, he has played wide since the start of the season and he has played 20 games and scored 10 goals in the Premier League.
“I was surprised (Walcott was dropped). But it is true for England now there is competition. Going forward, you have a young generation with (Jesse) Lingard, (Marcus) Rashford coming up. (Jack) Wilshere was left out, Walcott was left out and they are usually people who are always in there.
“He is quite a focused, determined guy. He doesn’t compromise with what he thinks is important. He speaks his mind.
“I think if you can captain a club team you can captain the national team, it’s similar…he is a positive guy.”
He's a limited footballer but you just can't argue with Walcott's numbers. Every injury free season he produces 20+ goals and assists.
— Daniel Zeqiri (@ZeqiriDan) April 5, 2017