He may have grabbed the headlines for his match-winning cameo against Sweden, but it appears Theo Walcott just can’t shake off his injury jinx.
Still hindered by the same hamstring problem which curtailed his involvement in Arsenal’s quest for third place last term, the England winger looks likely to miss England’s final group game with Ukraine.
Speaking to BBC Radio, boss Roy Hodgson lamented:
“Unfortunately he [Walcott] had a slight set-back in training today, and that’s the major concern for us. He felt the hamstring that kept him out for so long at the end of last season and which we were slightly concerned about when he joined up with us.
“We took the precaution of taking him from the field because he felt a slight tightness there. Whether he can start or not will depend upon what the medical people will tell me, and I need to check that if I do start him he won’t be leaving the field after just five minutes and leave us with the 13 men rather than the 14 I’d count on.”
It remains to be seen whether Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is thrust into the mix as a consequence of Walcott’s absence, although early indications suggest James Milner and Ashley Young will start on the wings.
Walcott’s fitness frustrations are seemingly matched by Tomas Rosicky. The Czech midfielder sat out his country’s final group game with hosts Poland and now faces a race against time if he’s to feature against Ronaldo’s Portugal in Warsaw on Thursday evening.
With Andrei Arshavin, Nicklas Bendtner, Robin van Persie and Wojciech Szczesny all set for the beach after early exits, the remaining Arsenal-related interest is focused on France and Germany.
Laurent Koscielny has yet to feature for Laurent Blanc’s side, being kept out by the grease-merchant that is Philippe Mexes, but could still see action if Les Bleus secure passage to the knockout round tomorrow night. Supposed transfer targets Yann M’Vila and Olivier Giroud both had playing time as subs against Ukraine in the last game.
New boy Lukas Podolski had Gunners fans licking their lips in anticipation as he netted on his 100th appearance for Germany as Die Mannschaft beat Denmark 2-1 to secure their 14th consecutive victory in competitive matches. Per Mertesacker though has remained on the bench for the Germans first three games, despite recovering from the ankle problem picked up at Sunderland in February.
All in all, a mixed bag for Arsenal’s European contingent…