Move over young Huxtable, there's a newer, cooler Theo in town.
Young lad Walcott ascended into the realm of England heroes last night with his hat-trick, and the media is loving it! And rightly so!
After the jump, some quotes about England and Walcott from around the news.
"Capello took the attacking option by selecting Walcott ahead of David Beckham and playing Joe Cole on the left. He has huge faith in Walcott, and to say that he repaid it is understatement gone mad. A new international star was born in Zagreb, and in the same moment we may have seen the end of Beckham as a player who starts the big games for England. There was something symbolic about the embrace between the pair when the older man replaced the youngster late on." [Phil McNulty - BBC]
"He's also refreshingly free of footballer's ego (an endemic and highly contagious disease). How many footballers would buy their girlfriend a better car than their own? While Mel whizzes about in a slinky Merc, Walcott still self-identifies with a very modest VW golf. "It's small and zippy. It reminds me of myself," he says. It is an unusual philosophy in a sport where the training ground car park is another competitive extension of the football pitch. But Walcott doesn't seem to have that 'wannabe big bollocks' drive. He is happy being a prodigiously talented footballer, working on improving his skills. It is enough. He does not drink, he does not cheat on his girlfriend, he does not need anger management therapy, he is just nice, and human." [Anna Kessel - The Guardian]
"Hats off, Mr. Capello... Fabio the Great has humiliated Bilic on the eve of his birthday." [Croat newspaper Vecernji List]
"Walcott's performance was a triumph both for the player and for his manager. Intelligently deployed, he refused to be discouraged when things did not go right in the opening minutes and took each of his three chances with a sang-froid that Owen himself would have envied. Coming in from the right flank on each occasion, he finished with a calmness and a precision that made his success seem almost lacking in drama." [Richard Williams - The Guardian]
"I am not surprised, because he is a player who has good timing with his runs and is a clinical finisher who can score goals, but I always believed that he will be a fantastic player and I was never concerned. For me, most of all is that he continues to develop as a team player. What happened yesterday we have to consider to be an exception - even for players of 25, 26 to score three goals in an international game is a one-off. The potential is there - but do not make him Thierry Henry before he is Thierry Henry. One game is one game, a career is something different, it is consistency." [Arsene Wenger]
The doom and gloom which followed Stevie Mac and his umbrella along with the scare mongers professing the death of the England football team are distant memories. I say distant memories because I have an extremely short memory (so much so that I have erased the weekend's Andorra game) and because I am also a typical England fan.
"I say, let's go wild!!!! England fans wouldn't be the same if we didn't now claim to be the best team in the world or that we will undoubtedly win the World Cup. Seriously though, last nights performance and result were refreshing - relief, quality and excitement in equal measure. Also, it was one of those 'where were you when' moments as cometh the hour, COMETH THE MAN." [Craig Malpas]
"Perhaps Sven-Göran Eriksson’s judgment was right after all. In the space of 56 astonishing minutes last night the shy teenager who admitted only two days ago to being starstruck when surprisingly taken to the 2006 World Cup finals blossomed into a young man capable of leading England’s challenge towards the next tournament in South Africa." [Matt Hughes - The Times]
"England appears to have found David Beckham's replacement." [Grahame L. Jones - LA Times]