Wayne Rooney scored one goal and created two as England defeated Croatia 4-1 in a World Cup qualifying match in Zagreb. But the real hero was Theo Walcott. The teenage winger, starting ahead of David Beckham, scored three goals. He has scored only four in more than 40 appearances (many of them as a substitute) for Arsenal.
The victory gave England a measure of revenge against Croatia which defeated England twice during England’s unsuccessful campaign to qualify for Euro 2008. It should also quiet down, at least for a while, Croatia’s manager Slaven Bilic who is fond of criticizing England for being too predictable. I doubt he predicted that Walcott would score three goals.
Bilic was a star defender at West Ham and played briefly for Everton. He is best remembered on Merseyside for being expelled from matches.
UPDATE: Rooney, who was as instrumental in the win as Walcott, went out of his way to praise his successor as boy wonder. Meanwhile, Walcott hailed Beckham, his predecessor on the right wing, for providing encouragement.
To comment on this post, go here.