Sven-Goran Eriksson Gives Savage Response When Asked Why He Took 17-Year-Old Theo Walcott To The World Cup
Sven-Goran Eriksson has savagely told Darren Bent it 'wouldn't have mattered' if he went to the 2006 World Cup with England ahead of Theo Walcott.
Eriksson shockingly called up 17-year-old Walcott for the tournament before he'd even made his Premier League debut for Arsenal.
Bent was omitted from the final squad despite banging in 18 goals that season for Charlton Athletic - with only Thierry Henry and Ruud van Nistelrooy scoring more in the entire league.
The former Addicks man has waited 15 years to get answers and asked Eriksson on talkSPORT: "Obviously I'm going to go back to 2006, for personal reasons. Theo Walcott, I didn't go, what was your thinking behind that?"
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He replied: "Walcott? Well I couldn't find anyone better. Then I thought why not take him with his speed, but also when you pick number 23 he will probably not win the World Cup for you.
"I thought, for the future, he will be very good and it was a pity he couldn't play and depended a lot that Rooney got sent off and we played an hour with 10 against 11 against Portugal in the quarter-final. It was not time to change anything at that time.
"We can discuss that for a long time. I thought it was a good idea and I had a lot of talks about it and decided to take him.
"The media were very positive about it, but when he didn't play they were very negative about it.
"We did it. If it was right or wrong, who knows. Whatever I had done there, it wouldn't have changed the result in the World Cup."
The Swede admitted Walcott wouldn't play for the Three Lions in Germany and was only part of the squad to gain experience.
Bent's omission was also a shock as Wayne Rooney, England's focal point, headed into the tournament with a metatarsal injury.