Walcott ready for int'l soccer: Crouch

England striker Peter Crouch believes Arsenal's Theo Walcott is a special talent who needs to be staged at the international arena.

india Updated: May 11, 2006 11:54 IST

England striker Peter Crouch believes Arsenal's Theo Walcott is ready to grace the international stage after receiving a shock World Cup call-up.

Crouch briefly played alongside the young forward when they were at Southampton and is delighted to be re-united with the 17-year-old in Sven-Goran Eriksson's England squad.

"Having played with him at Southampton, albeit only for a couple of months, I know what a special talent he is," Crouch, now with Liverpool, said.

"He can beat players, he's frighteningly quick and I think when people see him play they will be excited."

"He's done exceptionally well to get his move to Arsenal and obviously the manager thinks he is ready for the World Cup stage and I would not put it past him to grace that stage."

Crouch, 25, added, "I certainly wasn't ready at that age and so it's a credit to him that he has managed to get into the squad.

"With Wayne Rooney I think there were times when people thought 'would he be ready?' at such a young age and look what he's achieved.

"If he does half as well as Wayne has then obviously he has got a great future."

Crouch is preparing to lead Liverpool's attack in Saturday's FA Cup final against West Ham United before switching his attention to the World Cup.

The towering striker has been capped five times by his country, and with Wayne Rooney a major injury doubt and Michael Owen not certain to be fully fit because of foot injuries he may have a key part to play in Eriksson's plans.

"It's a big blow with Michael having missed quite a lot of the season and Wayne being injured so close to the World Cup. They are world-class players. With them being named in the squad I think obviously the manager thinks they have a chance of playing," he said.

"For me personally, I am excited to be in the squad and to hopefully play a big role."

First Published: May 11, 2006 11:54 IST