The 2013/14 football season has been declared over for Theo Walcott following the knee injury he picked up during Arsenal FA 3rd Round encounter with Spurs on Saturday.
An Arsenal statement read: “Theo has sustained a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee.
“He will have surgery in the near future and is expected to be out for at least six months, thus missing the rest of the season and the World Cup.”
Walcott’s Arsenal team-mate Aaron Ramsey wrote on Twitter: “Gutted for Theo, he’ll come back stronger after this. Been fantastic for us so far this season. Have a speedy recovery mate.”
The World Cup starts on 12 June, with England’s first match against Italy two days later.
Walcott has 36 international caps to his credit, scoring five goals, with England winning 27 of those matches, drawing seven and losing ony twice.
However, he sat out the final two World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland because of injury, with Tottenham’s Andros Townsend excelling in his absence on the right wing.
The pair had been expected to be in direct competition for a starting place in Brazil under manager Roy Hodgson.
Walcott made his senior international debut as a substitute for Michael Owen in a friendly against Hungary on 30 May 2006, making him England’s youngest ever player at 17 years and 75 days.
He is yet to play at a World Cup finals, despite being a surprise selection in Sven-Goran Eriksson’s squad in 2006. Fabio Capello did not take Walcott to
the 2010 tournament but the forward subsequently re-established himself under the Italian, earning selection for Euro 2012 and scoring in a 3-2 win over Sweden in the group stages.
Walcott’s injury comes as a significant blow to club and country on the same day the Football Association said it would take no further action against him over his gesture to Tottenham fans as he was carried from the field during Saturday’s game.