Theo Walcott is determined to build on finally tasting his first tournament action for England during Euro 2012 — six years after making his debut for his country. Walcott became England’s youngest ever player at 17 years and 17 days in 2006 and was a shock inclusion in that summer’s World Cup squad by Sven Goran Eriksson.
Then the Arsenal winger became the youngest player to score a hat-trick for England in the 4-0 win over Croatia in Zagreb in a World Cup qualifier in 2008. But playing an active part in a major finals has eluded Walcott until now as he scored as a substitute and then set up the winner for Danny Welbeck in the 3-2 win over Sweden on Friday night. Walcott said: “To make my first tournament performance in a high-profile match means so much to me.
“It’s been a long time coming and hopefully there will be more to come from me. It certainly whets your appetite. “It seems only the other day, rather than six years ago, that I was picked to go to the World Cup as a 17-year-old. “Now to finally play in a major finals is a special moment and one to saviour and remember, not only for me but for my family watching back home. I hope I can build on it.”
Rooney to play Ukraine
England need only a point against the Ukraine on Tuesday in Donetsk to secure a quarter-final spot and Wayne Rooney will be available after suspension and manager Roy Hodgson has vowed to pick his star striker:
“I welcome those kinds of selection problems — I was really pleased with the performance of the two front players. But Wayne Rooney is a very special player and it would be very difficult for me to leave him out.”