England were left with a major blow with the news that Arsenal winger Theo Walcott was set to miss the World Cup after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in the match against Tottenham. As a result, he has been ruled out for the rest of the season. Walcott has been one of the important players for the England national team over the years, but the midfielder is yet to feature in the World Cup. He was taken to the 2006 World Cup as a surprise inclusion by Sven Goran Eriksson, but he did not play a match.

The subsequent tournaments have also been missed by the 24-year-old due to injury. He had to be carried off by a stretcher during the 2-0 win over Tottenham. He did not appear to be in serious pain, but the injury has proven otherwise. Roy Hodgson has admitted that this is indeed a major blow for the national team, who are not expected to win the World Cup. They are the same group containing Uruguay and Italy, which makes them third favourites to qualify for the knockout stages. Costa Rica are the other team in the group.

Walcott has been in fine scoring form for Arsenal since last season, but he has missed most of this campaign. He had only returned from a spell on the sidelines.

“It is such a shame that we have lost a player of his calibre for the World Cup. It is a blow for him personally, and for both Arsenal and England. 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,” said Hodgson.

Despite this injury, sports rehabilitation experts have predicted that there is a chance that Walcott may get fit in time for the World Cup.