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.”

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 5 Mar 2010