Fabio has faith in ‘refreshed’ Theo

Walcott claims his hot start to the season has been helped by

having the summer off, but refused to be drawn on whether he might

have helped England had he been included in the World Cup squad.

Walcott was controversially left at home for a campaign in South

Africa during which England struggled before an early exit, but the

break seems to have done him no harm as he has started the season

in excellent form for Arsenal. “I had a nice break through the

summer and everything has gone well, so I just have to keep my feet

on the ground,” Walcott said. “It’s one of those things,” he added

of his World Cup exclusion. “I didn’t point the finger at anyone, I

didn’t blame anyone, it’s disappointing, but I’m not going to blame

myself, I just want to make sure it doesn’t happen again by working

hard on the training pitch. “I didn’t want to think too much about

it, and had a good mental break over the summer, because you want

to spend time with your family when you can. “But it’s going well

now and that’s all I can do.” Walcott is now hoping to start in

England’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Bulgaria on Friday night.

England waltzed through their World Cup qualifiers before the

disappointing performance in South Africa, but Walcott is not

expecting things to be easy qualifying for Euro 2012, despite the

good showing in the 2-1 friendly win over Hungary earlier in the

month. “No game is easy at the international level,” he said. “We

had a good result against Hungary and we managed to play well for

the whole game. “Sometimes the goals don’t go in because people

come to Wembley, a fantastic fortress, and they put people behind

the ball so it can be very difficult to break them down. “I think

they’ll be very organised on Friday but if we do the right things

we can get a result.” Three Lions coach Capello has come under

heavy fire since the World Cup, but Walcott said that was not

something that was concerning the players. “You would have to ask

him about that,” he said. “As players we want to go out there and

prove people wrong, and show we can do it on the pitch. “Our last

qualification went very well, we won every single game pretty much.

“We always know (what he wants), the message gets across to the

players and we know what to do on the pitch. It’s good to know that

the manager’s got the faith in us, and he’s got faith in me to try

to do it for him.” Walcott has been in and out of the England side

ever since his sensational call up to the World Cup squad in 2006

at the age of 17. However, he did not make his first competitive

appearance for England for another two years. His path may not have

been a straightforward one, but he believes he has come a long way

in the past four years. “At 19 to be playing for England is a great

achievement, and since me going to the World Cup in 2006 a lot of

stuff has happened,” he said. “I was 17 then, I’m only 21 now but

it seems like I’ve been around for a long time. There’s been a lot

of ups and downs but I feel like I am definitely a better player.”