As expected, England manager Roy Hodgson has named his squad to face Slovenia on November 15 and like the squads for the two previous International breaks, Hodgson has invited a large contingent from the Emirates club. Calum Chambers, Kieran Gibbs, Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere – who has overcome the flu that kept him out of our Anderlecht game – have all been recalled, all with a chance of making a start. That must be great news for all gooners.
The part open for debate, though, is that of Theo Walcott. The forward earned his last call up in September of 2013, missing the World Cup in Brasil last June due to an injury sustained on duty for Arsenal in the third round FA Cup tie against Tottenham. Walcott has only just made a return to first team action and has played only 10 minutes of real competitive football for the last ten months and seeing how much the home crowd cheered as he came on for Oxlade-Chamberlain in that Burnley game at the weekend, one needs not to be reminded how important Walcott is esteemed to be for the Arsenal team going forward this season.
Does it, then, present a problem that Walcott will go with the Three Lions to St. George to prepare for the Euro Qualifier game against the only team who England managed to beat in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa?
Wenger surely is in Support
The Gunners boss has been reluctant to throw Walcott into the heat of the action since he first made his return to full training after the last International break in October. But he has, rather surprisingly, not showed any friction towards letting him go away with the other lads for duty with England, even wishing he gets some minutes under his belt in the process. The manager certainly doesn’t consider the possibility that he could suffer any setback to his full recovery as he has made sure in his own capacity that Walcott was not rushed into making a return to the team despite the obvious need of him. Wenger has been left in wild admiration of Walcott’s professionalism through the ignominious period of his injury and surely is open to doing anything to repay such show of strong attitude.
Walcott does need minutes
It would have been disappointing for him not to be able to have a run-out on Tuesday night after warming up for long periods in the second half – and there is no doubt that he would certainly have come on if we hadn’t been so Arsenal. If we are to have him ready for the fixtures which will become more clustered as we serenade to Christmas, he must necessarily get enough time to make his fitness and finishing must become sharp again. Most preferably, those minutes should come in games where the pressure to perform wouldn’t be so much and Slovenia, with all due respect to them, won’t put so much on England at Wembley, even if one of their top teams, Maribor, nearly gave Chelsea a hiding yesterday.
Chambos will be thrilled to have him
Walcott could even end up not getting minutes as Roy Hodgson says he has explained to Wenger but the fact that we will have 6 Gunners in the England camp is something sure to be of immense benefit to all players, especially to the younger ones. Walcott is easily one of Hogson’s most experienced players and when finally ready, he will be one ally to rely on. But off the pitch as on it, Calum Chambers and Oxlade-Chamberlain can be proud of sharing an extended moment with their mate from the Saints Academy, not forgetting Gibbs who doesn’t hide the fact that Theo is his biggest pal.
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