Martin Keown believes that Andros Townsend has what it takes to step up for England in Theo Walcott's absence after the Arsenal winger was ruled out of action for six months with an ACL injury.
Walcott was stretchered off the pitch as the Gunners faced Tottenham in the third round of the FA Cup and despite looking to be in minimal pain – smiling as he signalled the 2-0 scoreline to the away fans – the club confirmed this week that the worst possible scenario had become a reality.
The winger will miss the remainder of the season and probably won't be back in time to prove himself to Roy Hodgson, but former Arsenal man Keown believes that Townsend could prove to be the perfect replacement.
"Townsend has already proved he can fill the gap left by Walcott," he told the Mirror. "His performances against Montenegro and Poland played a big part in helping England through those sticky ties.
"He was almost unplayable in the latter game, cutting inside onto his left foot and providing quite a different threat. He has pace too.
"But he appeared almost handcuffed under Andre Villas-Boas and I'm looking forward to seeing how he will perform under Tim Sherwood, who will get the best out of him."
Townsend broke onto the England scene properly this season and after nine loan spells away from Tottenham would appear to have finally proven himself at the club, pushing for a starting position on a regular basis.
The 22-year-old hasn't been a fixture in the starting XI in recent months, mostly due to injury woes, but Tim Sherwood confirmed this week that he could be back in action in their upcoming fixture against Crystal Palace as the young star gets back to full match fitness.