LONDON: England and Arsenal have been rocked by the verdict of a scan that right winger Theo Walcott will miss the next six months because of a left knee ligament injury writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Walcott had scored five goals in his last six games for the Premier League leaders since recovering from an early-season stomach injury. He will miss both the rest of the club’s league and Champions League campaigns as well as the World Cup finals with England.

The 24-year-old winger had ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament in the closing stages of Saturday’s 2-0 FA Cup win over Tottenham and had been the centre of controversy after making a scoreline sign to Spurs’ fans as he was being carried off.

Even before news broke of the severity of his injury the FA had stated that no disciplinary action would be taken.

Ironically Walcott had been playing on Saturday in the central striking role which he coveted.

An Arsenal statement read: “Theo has sustained a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee. He will have surgery in the near future and is expected to be out for at least six months, thus missing the rest of the season and the World Cup.

“Everyone at Arsenal wishes Theo a speedy recovery and we look forward to seeing him back on a football pitch as soon as possible.”

Walcott has scored five goals in 36 internationals with England winning 27 of those matches, drawing seven and losing twice. His likeliest deputy at the World Cup finals would appear to be Tottenham’s Andros Townsend who made a highly successful international start in the climactic last two matches of the World Cup qualifying tournament.

Walcott’s injury may force Arsenal to dip into the January transfer market to reinforce attack.  Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner will miss all January with an ankle injury while France forward Olivier Giroud has missed Arsenal’s last two games through a combination of illness and ankle damage.