Arsenal forward Theo Walcott has moved to play down hopes that he may recover from his injury problems in time to represent England at the World Cup later this year.

The 25-year-old ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament while in action for the Gunners over the winter, and has been sidelined ever since.

Although initial reports suggested that he would definitely miss the tournament in Brazil this summer, there have been whispers that his recovery has been speedier than first hoped.

But Walcott says that he will not hurry his spell out of action as he plots to return to full fitness:

“I am not pushing myself to be fit for the World Cup or anything like that. I want to be back quickly, of course, but safely, too,” he is quoted by The Express.

“I want to try and be back for the early part of next season, that is the goal, so there will be a lot of hard work throughout the summer and during the World Cup.”

Walcott did however suggest that his recovery is going well:

“I will just get on with my work – I am first in and last out on most days.

“I see the consultant soon, too, and hopefully he will give me the thumbs up to push on. I would love to be running in a few weeks.”

The pacey attacker did not make England’s squad for South Africa 2010, but has been in the Three Lions camp for a World Cup after being a shock call-up in 2006.

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