England's World Cup hopes have been dealt an early blow after it was revealed that Arsenal's Theo Walcott will be out of action for six months.
The 24-year-old was injured during his side's 2-0 FA Cup victory over north London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, last weekend and on Monday Arsenal announced that Walcott has suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee.
The Club regrettably announces Theo Walcott has been ruled out for at least six months with a knee injury. Story: http://t.co/Q0wPjxjCxj— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 6, 2014
Walcott was taken from the field on a stretcher - and was subsequently pelted with objects thrown from the away end - after appearing to jar his knee when making a tackle during the closing stages of the encounter although the injury has turned out to be more severe.
The 24-year-old did not appear to be in severe pain as he was carried off the field at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday and even signalled "2-0" in the direction of 5,000-strong Tottenham fans, as missiles, including coins and plastic bottles, were seen to hit medical staff as they carried the stretcher around to the tunnel on the halfway line.
Walcott learned on Monday that he would face no disciplinary action for his hand gesture, but the latest news is much more devastating.