England manager Fabio Capello insisted he had no hesitation in putting Arsenal forward Theo Walcott straight back in the national squad despite calls from Under 21’s boss Stuart Pearce to let him play for his side.
The Three Lions take on Kazakhstan and Belarus this week as they look to gain a stranglehold on Group Six, after a Walcott-inspired performance in Croatia led them to an historic 4-1 win.
And Capello look set to stick with the 19-year-old on the right wing as he looks for a replica performance from his side, although he warned England fans not to expect a virtuoso display from the youngster every time he steps out onto the pitch.
“I think when you find young players like this – good players, interesting players at the top level – he has to play with the seniors,” he told the official Fifa website.
“Age is not important. What’s important is the quality, the confidence.
“It’s a stupid example, but Maradona played when he was 16 because he was ready. Theo is ready for sure.
“I hope he produces a good performance.
“I said after Croatia that everyone would speak about his performance and the people would be waiting for the same performance, but sometimes it’s not possible.
“I think we have to wait and treat Walcott like the normal players.
“Sometimes there will be a fantastic performance, other times it will be normal and others not good, so I substitute him – but that is normal like for the other players.”
England’s remaining fixtures:
11 Oct – Kazakhstan (H)
15 Oct – Belarus (A)
1 April 2009 – Ukraine (H)
6 June – Kazakhstan (A)
10 June – Andorra (H)
9 Sept – Croatia (H)
10 Oct – Ukraine (A)
14 Oct – Belarus (H)