Winger Walcott was taken off on a stretcher during the Gunners’ FA Cup win over arch-rivals Tottenham on Saturday evening, after appearing to jar his knee when making a tackle.
The devastating news emerged late on Monday that the 24-year-old is looking at a MINIMUM six months out with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.
“After coming off injured in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur, the club regrettably announces that Theo Walcott has sustained a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee,” said a statement on the club’s official website, www.arsenal.com.
“Theo will have surgery in London in the near future 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.”
Learning he will not kick a ball again before next season came just hours after the FA confirmed Walcott would not face any disciplinary action for taunting Spurs fans as he was being carried off the pitch by indicating the 2-0 scoreline with his fingers.
Walcott burst onto the scene at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, when then-England boss Sven Goran Eriksson selected him at the age of 17 even though he had not even played in the Premier League.
He did not kick a ball in anger during the tournament and was not elected for the last finals, in South Africa in 2010.
More to follow…
Theo Walcott Factfile
1989 Born March 16, Middlesex.
2004 Breaks into England Under-17 squad, scoring five times in 11 appearances.
September – Aged 15 years and 175 days becomes Southampton’s youngest ever reserve player.
2005 August 6 – Makes Coca-Cola Championship debut against Wolves aged 16 years and 143 days.
October 18 – Scores first senior goal in 2-1 defeat at Leeds.
2006 January 20 – Joins Arsenal for an initial fee of £5million, rising to a possible £12million, becoming the most expensive 16-year-old in the history of British football.
May 8 – Named in England’s World Cup party despite not having made a first-team appearance for Arsenal.
May 30 – Becomes youngest England international when introduced as a substitute in a friendly against Hungary aged 17 years and 75 days, beating Wayne Rooney’s previous record.
June – Travels to Germany but fails to feature in Sven-Goran Eriksson’s team.
August 15 – Makes his debut for England Under-21s against Moldova, scoring within three minutes of coming on as a substitute.
August 19 – Makes Arsenal debut as a 73rd-minute substitute in 1-1 Premiership draw with Aston Villa.
2007 February 24 – Puts Arsenal ahead in Carling Cup final against Chelsea with his first goal for the club, but the Gunners are beaten 2-1.
2008 September 7 – Makes first England start in the 2-0 win against Andorra in Barcelona.
September 11 – Scores a sensational hat-trick as England run out 4-1 winners against Croatia in Zagreb.
May 8 – Commits his long-term future to Arsenal by agreeing a new contract extension.
2010 March 3 – A poor performance in England’s 3-1 win over Egypt attracts stinging criticism from Chris Waddle, who says Walcott does not have “a football brain” and he “doesn’t understand the game”.
May 11 – Named in Fabio Capello’s provisional 30-man World Cup squad.
June 1 – Omitted from final 23-man squad.
August – Scores first hat-trick of his club career in 6-0 home win over promoted Blackpool.
2012 May 16 – Included in Roy Hodgson’s 23-man England squad for Euro 2012.
June 15 – Comes off the bench to score one and set up another as England come from behind to beat Sweden 3-2. England qualify from Group D but crash out on penalties to Italy in quarter-final.
December 31 – Scores his first Premier League hat-trick of the season and provides two assists as Arsenal thrash Newcastle 7-3.
2013 January 18 – Signs a new long-term contract with Arsenal.
2014 January 4 – Attracts criticism for gesturing towards Tottenham fans as he is carried off the pitch with an injury during the 2-0 FA Cup third round win over Spurs.
January 6 – The FA confirm that they will take no action against Walcott but later that day it is confirmed that he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury to the left knee and he will miss the rest of the season and the World Cup in Brazil.
– Mirror Sport