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Losing Theo Walcott is a Massive Blow To England's Chances In Brazil

Do we truly realise how big a blow it is to have Theo Walcott ruled out of the World Cup?

Shaun Botterill

Fellow writer Jonny Balchin is a massive Theo Walcott fan, he makes no secret of that. Today he advised me that statistically Theo Walcott has been the 4th best player in the Premier League over the past four seasons, behind only Robin Van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez, only those three players have more goals and assists than Theo over that time frame. It didn't sound right to me, so I argued it back and forth but the discussion ended with a simple "you can't disagree with statistics".

For this year I turned to Squawka for some up to date statistics and they are pretty impressive for a player who is predominantly played out wide. In just 13 appearances this year, Theo has scored 5 goals and created 23 chances for teammates. That on its own is quite spectacular but when you consider he also possesses a 81% pass completion, it's even more impressive.

When watching England and Theo for England, I've never been blown away. In 36 games for England he has scored 5 goals, which in itself isn't a terrible statistic considering in 10 of those games he was used as a substitute and didn't have a great deal of time to get into the game and in 22 of those games he was substituted, which means he has played just 4 full games for England, a ridiculously low number for a player of his quality.

However his recent performances have stood out and his direct attacking style of play is something England are in short supply of. Andros Townsend is the natural replacement for Walcott in the England set-up and while his appearances and chances created are very similar (14 and 21), he has scored just the one goal this season, which is a significant drop off from Theo's 5. Townsend is a tricky player, but he doesn't pose the same threat in the final third, so England will be without that goal scoring threat.

Aaron Lennon has struggled with injuries this season and his output has been very similar to that of Townsend, a good quick direct player but without the goal scoring threat of Theo.

In short, England are going to miss Theo who could be a significant player for the Three Lions. How he didn't make the team in 2012 is a mystery to any football fan, now he'll miss his second consecutive tournament for his country, call it bad luck.