By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger has launched a staunch defence of Theo Walcott and insists that the Arsenal youngster has a “great future” ahead of him.

Walcott was criticised in the wake of England’s 3-1 win over Egypt on Wednesday – only his eighth start of an injury-hit season – and some have questioned whether the 20-year-old will make the cut for Fabio Capello’s World Cup squad this summer.

Radio summariser and former England international Chris Waddle even claimed that Walcott “does not have a football brain” but Wenger dismissed those comments and stood up for his player at his pre-match press conference.

“I believe he has not only a football brain but he has a brain,” said the Frenchman. “That means he will continue to develop at a very quick pace. Don't worry for him.

“I believe for a while maybe people expected too much of Theo and now they are too hard with him.

“I believe Theo will be a great football player, he is very young, he will be 21 this year, and he will have a great future. I believe in him because he has a fantastic attitude, he's an intelligent boy and he is highly motivated. These players always improve.”

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5 Mar 2010