England Drops Walcott, Bent, Baines for World Cup

England soccer coach Fabio Capello dropped Theo Walcott, Darren Bent and Adam Johnson from his squad to go to soccer’s World Cup, the Football Association said on its website.

Leighton Baines also misses out, along with Michael Dawson, Scott Parker and Tom Huddlestone. Joe Cole, Jermain Defoe, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Stephen Warnock are selected. Gareth Barry is also included, having made “good progress” on an ankle injury, the F.A. said.

Capello previously announced a 30-man provisional squad and had to cut it to 23 by today’s deadline.

Four years ago, at the age of 17, winger Walcott was a surprise choice by then England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson for the 2006 tournament in Germany.

He hadn’t played a Premier League game for Arsenal after his transfer from Southampton, and didn’t play at the World Cup either as England went out in the quarterfinals.

Walcott hit the headlines again in September 2008 when his three goals in Croatia helped England win 4-1 on its way to qualifying for South Africa at the top of its group. In the past season Walcott’s form has been undermined by injury, although he played in recent exhibition games against Mexico and Japan.

Geoff Hurst, who scored three goals for England in the final when it won the 1966 tournament, said he wasn’t surprised Walcott was left out.

Walcott’s Form

“For me it’s not a surprise,” Hurst told Sky Sports. “It may be a surprise for the general public. He’s had injury problems and I don’t think he’s replicated his England form towards the back end of the year.”

Warnock, who didn’t play in the Mexico or Japan games, was an outside bet to win selection for South Africa ahead of Baines.

The squad flies out to South Africa tomorrow and England meets the U.S. in its first game in Rustenburg on June 12, a day after the 32-team tournament starts. Algeria and Slovenia are also in England’s group.

England squad: J. Hart, D. James, R. Green; J. Carragher, A. Cole, R. Ferdinand, G. Johnson, L. King, J. Terry, M. Upson, S. Warnock; G. Barry, M. Carrick, J. Cole, S. Gerrard, F. Lampard, A. Lennon, J. Milner, S. Wright-Phillips; P. Crouch, J. Defoe, E. Heskey, W. Rooney.

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