England's World Cup plans have been thrown into disarray with the news that Arsenal winger Theo Walcott's anterior cruciate knee ligament injury will rule him out for six months including the summer finals in Brazil.
But when one door closes, another opens and in Walcott's absence a new face has the opportunity to spearhead England's charge this summer. With both Andros Townsend and James Milner seemingly having secured a birth in Roy Hodgson's squad, who will fill the void left by the 24 year old?
IBTimes UK looks at the runners and riders to replace the Arsenal flyer.
Adam Lallana – Southampton
Having impressed in the friendly defeats to Chile and Germany, the Saints winger's hopes of boarding the plan to Brazil have been significantly heightened by the loss of Walcott. His outstanding movement and technique would make him a cherished part of the England team and even a potential starter against Italy.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Arsenal
Oxlade-Chamberlain's return to Arsenal training comes at the perfect time as Walcott's absence is confirmed. The 20 year old has played just once this season but with 13 international caps he is among the most experienced of the potential stand-ins. If required, possesses the ability to play in the middle but must prove fitness over next six months.
Raheem Sterling – Liverpool
Perhaps the most in form candidate to replace Walcott with three goals and three assists in his last eight appearances. Sterling would no doubt be able to replicate the pace of Walcott, but like the Arsenal man his end product requires some work. No doubt in Roy Hodgson's thinking but must sustain form to hold off Lallana.
Tom Ince - Blackpool
The outside bet of those hoping to replace Walcott. The best player outside of the Premier League has thrilled for both his club Blackpool and the England Under-21's where Hodgson can't have helped but take notice. A move to the top flight in January is vital to his hopes of staging a late bid for Brazil but his talent in undoubted.
Wilfried Zaha – Manchester United
Another player who must discover pastures new in order to force his way into the reckoning. Zaha has cut a discontent figure since securing his permanent move to Manchester United with just four appearances in six months under David Moyes. Possesses the trickery to excite on the international stage but little form to speak of.