The 24-year-old damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Arsenal‘s FA Cup victory over Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend, with his club announcing on Monday that he will be unavailable for around six months.
As well as missing the rest of the season, it means that Walcott is all but certain to miss Brazil 2014, which begins in June.
“As a player, it’s devastating. I missed out on a World Cup in ’98 through injury and it’s something that you never truly get over.” Ian Wright
It is the latest chapter in a story of World Cup misery for Walcott, who was called up for the 2006 tournament at the age of 17 but did not play, and was then left out for the 2010 tournament by Fabio Capello.
Wright, who sat out the 1998 World Cup in France due to a hamstring injury, told BBC Radio Five Liveon Tuesday: “As a player, it’s devastating. I missed out on a World Cup in ’98 through injury and it’s something that you never truly get over.
“In the end I didn’t actually get to play in any, but for someone like Theo who has been there but not played – but he has been there – for this one I feel he would have been ready.”
“Shocking news regarding Theo Walcott,” Owen wrote on Twitter. “I wish him a speedy recovery and hope he returns next season as good as ever.”
Walcott’s injury could open the door for James Milner, Andros Townsend, Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana or Aaron Lennon, all of whom will hope to take his place on the right flank of England‘s attack.