England duo Theo Walcott and Aaron Lennon have told FourFourTwo how Fabio Capello has helped them develop their game - in order to help England taste World Cup glory in South Africa.
The North London rivals both look set to be part of the Italian's
23-man squad for this summer's global showpiece, and both believe they
can make an impact.
Arsenal forward Walcott and Tottenham winger Lennon were both
surprise late additions to Sven Goran Eriksson's squad for the last
World Cup in Germany four years ago, despite both being uncapped and
aged just 17 and 19 respectively.
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But while Lennon made cameo appearances against Trinidad &
Tobago, Ecuador and Portugal, Walcott was forced to watch on from the
Since then, the Gunners' starlet has gone on to make more of an
impact for both his club and at international level, playing in over
130 matches for the Emirates Stadium side, earning nine senior England
caps and scoring a famous hat-trick in England's 4-1 World Cup
qualifying victory against Croatia in September 2008.
The 21-year-old will be keen to prove his worth on the biggest stage
this time round, but is aware that he may have to do that from the
"You've got to be aware that you've got to make the difference if
you can, even if it's for five minutes. If you get the chance you've
got to be able to take it," Walcott said in the June issue of FourFourTwo - out today.
"If I'm on the bench I'll watch the full-back and try to work on his negatives when I come on."
Walcott has been earmarked by some pundits as a potential successor
to David Beckham on England's right flank, and it seems the England
manager may be having similar thoughts.
"He [Capello] likes me to get at defenders and stay wide - this is
the most important thing. It gives us width and provides a good outlet
for the team. Obviously he also tells me to get crosses in and track
back and do my defensive duties."
But while the experienced former AC Milan and Real Madrid coach has
instructed Walcott to try and play wider, the opposite is true of White
Hart Lane counterpart Aaron Lennon.
"He encourages me to drop inside and, if I get the chance, to shoot," Lennon revealed.
"I think scoring goals is definitely something I'm trying to improve
on. I think I'm capable of scoring a lot of goals - I'm just not being
greedy enough. I need to shoot a bit more."
The 23-year-old Yorkshireman was in electrifying form for Spurs in
the first half of the season, with three goals and nine assists in 20
Premier League matches by the turn of the year seeing him labelled as
one of the division's most improved players.
"Where I've really improved is in my crossing, my final ball,
decision-making and general awareness," Lennon explained, adding "I
take a bit more time before crossing now. It's something I've been
working on with the staff at Tottenham and it's showed this season. I'm
playing better than ever."
A groin injury picked up in Spurs' 2-0 win over West Ham in December
had ruled him out of action for nearly four months, but his recent
return could well serve as a massive boost to both Tottenham and
England, particularly if he can recreate his early season form.
Read the full in-depth interviews with both Theo Walcott and
Aaron Lennon - as well as Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and John Terry -
in the June issue of FourFourTwo, out now.
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