By Nick Teale

Arsène Wenger admits it would be a blow for Theo Walcott if he doesn't make England's World Cup squad.

The Arsenal manager believes the 21-year-old has become “more of a man” this term and insists that his young striker is still improving as a player.

Fabio Capello will take a 23-man squad to South Africa for this summer's tournament and many expect Walcott to be involved.

However, the jury remains out on the forward in some quarters of the media, and Wenger accepts that it will be a real set-back if Theo doesn't make the squad.

"As much as it was a little bit of a present last time [in 2006], this time it would be a blow," said the manager.

"He is improving and he is still only 21. For me he has become more of a man this season, more responsible tactically and he is going the right way.

"He had a good start [to the season] after he was stopped by injuries and after two months I believe he is on the way to efficiency."

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 2 May 2010