Injuries have ill-regard for timing, much less so with football’s biggest showpiece of a tournament taking place in Brazil this summer. Just ask England’s Theo Walcott, who was ruled out of action for six months yesterday, after an anterior cruciate ligament injury on his left knee. Six months of recovery time means he will most definitely be missing the World Cup, but at least he will be around for the birth of his first child!

You could roll your eyes now, but really, it could even be a blessing in disguise for Theo! He had a great taste of the competition, was England’s youngest ever player at the World Cup in 2006, and although he will be missed, a player does not make a team. Perhaps it’s time for Walcott to take over Daddy Duties this summer, instead? (“Are you crazy? We need a striker! Theo will have to do!”)

Walcott, who was playing well with the Gunners up till Saturday’s FA Cup, probably had Brazil at the back of his mind – until his injury. It’s sad, but injuries are a huge part of football, and sometimes you just aren’t meant to be at a competition. Even Ray Parlour agrees.

“What a really big injury this is for Arsenal and England. I’m sure Theo would have been a starter for England in Brazil. It must be a massive blow for himself. He’s playing in a very good team at the moment, at the top of the league and looking forward to Brazil and suddenly gets this big injury shock. Everybody must think about Theo at the moment because he must be absolutely distraught about the extent of the injury.” – Ray Parlour (former Arsenal midfielder)

It’s no surprise that the next five months of the football calendar will be absolutely critical for most professional footballers. Many of them will be playing at the maximum level in their domestic leagues, hoping to go to the World Cup with their national teams.

It’s a tricky balance of being cautious and putting on a good show for national coaches. Most players will be playing at their fullest potential, which could be both risky, or fortunate in the case of Podolski, who recently returned from a four-month injury at Arsenal. Hopefully, no players will follow in Walcott’s circumstances.