Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Wenger worried by Walcott burn-out

Arsenal chief Arsene Wenger is on a collision course with the Football Association after Theo Walcott was included in both the England senior squad and Under-21 party.

Wenger is worried his 20-year-old starlet will be burnt out by the time the Premier League season comes around in August after potentially enduring just a week’s rest in the summer.

Walcott has been called up by Fabio Capello for England’s World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Andorra on June 6 and 10.

But he is also wanted by Under-21 boss Pearce for the two-week European Championships in Sweden, which kick off against Finland on June 15.

And his involvement in both parties will leave the winger with just over a week’s rest with Arsenal’s pre-season schedule set to begin on July 6.

Wenger said: “I am against this and have let the FA know Theo should not play in both national teams during the holiday period.

“It is difficult for us to accept that, but the rules are on the side of the FA and we cannot do anything about it.

“But I have told them it is not logical he plays first for the senior team and then the Under-21s during the close season.”

Walcott himself has said he is happy to give his all for both squads, but as Wenger points out it could be counter-productive for England with the World Cup around the corner next summer.

“If Walcott is burnt out then England will also suffer. If there is no summer break then he goes all next season and then straight to the World Cup.”

It’s natural Wenger is protective of his player, who he envisages will have more of an impact for the Gunners next season after 16 top-flight starts this campaign.

However Capello is also permitted to use Walcott in the World Cup qualifiers, while Pearce is hoping to take a side to Sweden that can win the eight-team tournament.

Considering the opposition the England senior side are facing in June, Kazakhstan and Andorra, Capello might decide to omit Walcott and do Wenger and Pearce a favour and allow him to travel with the Under-21s.


Phil Tomlinson



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