Arsenal and England have been dealt a cruel blow after Theo Walcott was ruled out for the rest of the season and this summer’s World Cup in Brazil after suffering serious knee ligament damage during Saturday’s FA Cup victory over Tottenham Hotspur.

Walcott jarred his left knee while making a tackle on Danny Rose nine minutes from the end of the home side’s 2-0 victory in the north London derby and departed on a stretcher while being pelted with coins and plastic bottles thrown from the away support. The early indications were that the 24-year-old had only strained the ligaments in the joint, an injury that would have kept him out for up to four weeks at most. Scans undertaken on Monday confirmed the damage was far more extensive.

The forward has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee and will undergo surgery to repair the joint in London within the next two weeks once the swelling has receded. Arsenal confirmed on Monday night that they expect him to be absent for “at least six months”, prematurely curtailing his campaign and denying him the chance to compete in Brazil. “Everyone at Arsenal wishes Theo a speedy recovery and we look forward to seeing him back on a football pitch as soon as possible,” said a club statement

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