Arsenal - Theo Walcott fitness update and predicted return

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott sat out England's 8-0 win over San Marino after picking up an injury ahead of the game.

So the news Arsenal fans dreaded but were half-expected materialised - One of their key players went down injured at the international break.

Here is our handy Q & A as to the latest on Theo Walcott's fitness:

What happened?

Walcott 'overstretched' when crossing a ball in training ahead of England's World Cup Qualifier with San Marino, and was immediately ruled out of the match.

Who said what?

England manager Roy Hodgson said: "He immediately felt a slight problem in the pelvic area, went straight off the pitch and had a scan on Friday morning. It showed a slight tear in the pelvic muscle."

What's the latest?

Walcott has left the England squad to return back to London, and is 'definitely' out of England's qualifier on Tuesday away to Montenegro. Arsenal have since confirmed he suffered a hip/groin injury - but moved to describe it as 'minor'.

When is his predicted return?

When the injury was announced on Friday afternoon, it was cited that it could take up to 10 days to heal. This means Walcott is very much 50/50 for the Gunners' next game on Saturday 30, at home to Reading. The match against the relegation strugglers is one Arsene Wenger may hope to be able to win without rushing the winger back. However injury database - list Walcott's expected return date as April 6 - When Arsenal travel away to West Brom.

How will it affect the race for the top four?

Arsenal might just escape without any damage. The only game he really looks likely to miss is the clash at home to Reading, where they will expect three points regardless. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain started for England against San Marino and scored, and should be able to replace him in the Arsenal starting line-up and aim for similar success if required.

Are you optimistic?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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