Wenger: England must be cautious with Walcott

The 25-year-old made his first competitive appearance for nine months in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Burnley and could be immediately recalled by Roy Hodgson

Arsene Wenger is backing Theo Walcott to return to the England squad but has warned Roy Hodgson that the winger’s recovery from a serious knee injury must be managed with caution.

Walcott made his first competitive appearance for nine months on Saturday, coming on as a second-half substitute in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Burnley to a rapturous ovation from the Emirates Stadium crowd.

Talk has immediately turned to the possibility of the 25-year-old being included in Hodgson’s squad for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia and friendly against Scotland later this month.

But, while Wenger believes the experience could be good for Walcott, he insists the flying winger must be eased back in gradually.

“If he wants to go [with England], I’m happy for him to go and practice and maybe get a few minutes,” the Arsenal boss told reporters. “Mentally it will help him.

“Is he completely ready? I think it is a bit early but to be in the squad will be good for him.

“It’s good to have him back, hopefully he will come on and have no setbacks. We have to be cautious always.

“The battle is not won, nine or ten months out, you have ups and downs. I will have to manage that well.”

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