Sven set for AJ snub

Last updated : 08 May 2006 By Nik Taylor

Sven Goran Eriksson will name his provisional World Cup squad at 2pm today, and Andrew Johnson is expected to miss out.

Injured stars Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney will both be included in the hope they can recover in time to play some part, while the rest of the striking positions are likely to be filled by Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe and Darren Bent.

Given that AJ has played the whole of this season outside the top-flight, it's difficult to argue against such a selection.

However, Eriksson is also tipped to select Arsenal youngster Theo Walcott as a standby striker in what amounts to an amazing snub of AJ's goalscoring abilities.

Walcott, like AJ, has only played his football at Championship level this season. In fact, the 17-year-old made just 13 starts for Southampton, scoring five goals, before his January move to Arsenal. Since then he's seen no more action than the training pitch.

AJ, on the other hand, has recovered from a lengthy spell on the injury list to knock in 17 goals in 35 appearances this season. He's also proved he can score in the Premiership (unlike Walcott), having hammered home 21 goals at that level last season.

If AJ misses out on Germany to the likes of Defoe and Bent, he can have few complaints.

However, if Walcott is selected ahead of him it will be Eriksson's most bizzare move since deciding the Premiership's top English goalscorer should made his England debut on the right wing.