Arsenal forward Theo Walcott risks being frozen out of Roy Hodgson's England squad for this summer's European Championships following the emergence of Tottenham Hotspur's Dele Alli and Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, according to Harry Redknapp. Another injury-ravaged campaign has seen Walcott make just 15 Premier League starts for the Gunners as he plummets down the pecking order in north London.
The 27-year-old Walcott has started just one league game since the Valentine's Day win over leaders Leicester City and is often restricted to appearances from the bench behind Danny Welbeck, Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez and Alex Iwobi. Those dwindling opportunities are expected to impact on his international aspirations, though he has been included in the 23-man England squad for the friendlies against Germany and the Netherlands.
While Walcott's career at Arsenal has plateaued, Alli has been one of the standout performers of the season for title challengers Tottenham. In his first season in the top flight, the 19-year-old has scored seven goals and made 12 assists in all competitions and, having made his England debut earlier in the campaign, is in line to force his way into England manager Roy Hodgson's thinking.
"I've always liked Theo as a player but he's at the crossroads now and needs to start producing on a regular basis," the ex-Tottenham manager Redknapp told The Daily Telegraph. "He doesn't even get in the Arsenal team nowadays – at Old Trafford the other week I thought he'd murder that [Manchester] United defence but he barely got a kick. He's useful as an impact player but players like Alli and Barkley have flown past him and are threatening to leave him out in the cold."
Redknapp added: "Dele Alli is the most exciting England youngster for a long time and we should be building a team around him. Dele and Ross Barkley are two fantastic young talents and whatever system I played I'd find a way of getting them in the team. Let them roam free and create havoc against defenders."
Alli has been highly praised having gone from playing League One football to being a key part of the Tottenham squad under Mauricio Pochettino in less than a year. Redknapp has previously questioned the recruitment policy the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea – who overlooked the former Milton Keynes Dons youngster – and believes he is worth at least £20m such has been his form.