England manager Roy Hodgson has expressed sympathy for Theo Walcott after the forward was ruled out for six months with ligament damage.
The Arsenal man ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in Saturday's 2-0 FA Cup third-round win over Tottenham and will not feature again this campaign. Walcott will miss the World Cup in Brazil, once again denying him the chance to shine on the world's biggest stage after failing to make the field in 2006 and not being included in the 2010 squad.
Hodgson has backed the attacker to come back strongly, however, having overcome a complicated abdominal issue already this season.
"I spoke with Theo and just wanted to express my disappointment to him," Hodgson told the FA's official website. "It is a blow for him personally of course, and for both Arsenal and England. We had quite a lengthy conversation and it is such a shame that we have lost a player of his caliber for the World Cup. He has been incredibly unfortunate and we wish him a speedy recovery.
"Having worked with him for two years as England manager I know the character he has, and I know he will come back even stronger from this setback."