Walcott on road to recovery
Arsenal winger Theo Walcott expects to return to action stronger than ever after stepping up his recovery from a season-ending cruciate ligament injury.
The England international jarred his knee during the Gunners' 2-0 FA Cup victory over Tottenham in January and scans later revealed ligament damage that ruled him out of the rest of the domestic campaign - and the World Cup.
But the 24-year-old is walking again - seven weeks after undergoing surgery - and insists he never considered pursuing a 'quick fix' in a bid to reach the Brazil finals.
Walcott said: "It has taken me a while to get the walking right, but it is nearly there.
"At the moment, I am taking it week by week and trying to hit targets. I can't do much yet.
"I don't want to be pushing the injury and not be 100 per cent and cause other injuries.
"I was never tempted by any of the offers from people saying they could get me fit for the World Cup.
"I followed the club's advice. I went to a consultant in London and it was a great decision."
Walcott was a surprise omission from Fabio Capello's World Cup squad in South Africa four years ago having travelled to the German tournament in 2006 as an untested 17-year-old.
"You can't do anything about the injury and with the Capello incident I just wanted to prove I was good enough, and the following year I had a very good year," he added.
"They are totally different situations. No players like to be injured, a lot of players suffer from horrendous injuries.
"I know it's going to make me a better person and a stronger person.
"I don't want to look at six months' time. I want to look at 10-15 years and still be playing."
Walcott drew some criticism for gesturing '2-0' to Spurs fans with his fingers while being carried off the Emirates pitch on a stretcher, but the former Southampton player does not regret his actions, describing them as "banter".
"No I don't regret it at all," he said. "All the stewards were getting stuff peppered at them even before.
"Me and Tottenham, you always have that banter. They do it to me, I do it to them, it's just a bit of fun really.
"I've seen some Tottenham fans since then and they have said 'if it was one of our players (making the gesture) I would have loved it'."