Salisbury JournalWalcott blow for England (From Salisbury Journal)

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Walcott blow for England

Salisbury Journal: Theo Walcott, left, was injured after San Marino goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini's rash challenge Theo Walcott, left, was injured after San Marino goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini's rash challenge

Theo Walcott will play no part in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Poland after being ruled out with a chest injury.

Walcott was injured in the opening minutes of Friday night's 5-0 win over San Marino after a collision with goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini. He seemed to be struggling to breathe normally and was accompanied to hospital by the England team doctor Ian Beasley and kept in overnight for observation.

"Theo Walcott has been ruled out of the FIFA World Cup qualifier with Poland on Tuesday with a chest injury," the Football Association said in a statement.

The statement continued: "The Arsenal forward was taken to hospital following a collision with the San Marino goalkeeper on Friday night. He was monitored overnight as a precaution and, following scan results today, will return to his club for further treatment."

While no exact diagnosis has been revealed, Walcott looked in trouble immediately after the incident, which left manager Roy Hodgson very unhappy. "I don't think it is going to be good," he said. "He is in hospital overnight. We can only hope it is bad bruising but he was pretty badly beaten up."

With Aaron Lennon and Adam Johnson already in his squad, it seems unlikely Hodgson will call up any replacements. But, despite Simoncini's awful challenge, for which he was lucky not to receive a red card, Hodgson refused to join the critics who claim San Marino have no place in international football.

Since they became a member of FIFA in 1990, they have won just once - against Liechtenstein in 2004. The predictably one-sided statistics showed England had 25 shots to San Marino's single off-target effort, enjoyed an 86% share of possession and won the corner count 17-0.

However, Hodgson is not decrying their existence as a footballing nation. "It's up to UEFA and FIFA to decide which countries are allowed into their competitions," he said. "San Marino have been in the Euros and the World Cup for some years.

"They play the way they play and do the best they can with the resources they have. We can't accuse them of playing a dirty game of football.

"There weren't too many vicious fouls. There was one, which is the one which bothers us. But I wouldn't suggest they shouldn't be allowed in the competition."

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