LONDON (AP) — Arsenal winger Theo Walcott will miss the World Cup for England after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, an injury that also deals a setback to his club's hopes of winning the Premier League.
Walcott was injuried making a tackle near the end of Arsenal's 2-0 win over Tottenham in the FA Cup on Saturday and was carried off on a stretcher. The Gunners said Monday he will have surgery and "is expected to be out for at least six months, therefore missing the remainder of the season and the World Cup in Brazil in the summer."
Walcott was a surprise selection for the 2006 tournament in Germany as a 17-year-old but wasn't used. He was left off the 2010 roster. He would have been a guaranteed pick by England coach Roy Hodgson for this year's tournament and likely woild have competed with Andros Townsend to start at right wing.
Walcott had been in brilliant form for Arsenal since returning in November after two months out with an abdominal injury, scoring five goals in his last five league games to help his team stay top of the standings heading into 2014. Arsenal leads Manchester City by a point after 20 games.
Arsenal hasn't won a trophy since 2005. Earlier Monday, Walcott escaped punishment for taunting Tottenham fans while he was being taken off on a stretcher after getting hurt. As medics carried him in front of visiting supporters, Walcott signaled the 2-0 score with his fingers, prompting Tottenham supporters to pelt him with coins and bottles.
The Football Association said it has contacted Walcott "and reminded him of his responsibilities regarding a 'scoreline' gesture he made" but will not be taking any further disciplinary action. The governing body also said it contacted the north London clubs to seek their observations in relation to objects being thrown from both sets of fans during the game.